Nationwide Series

Should Sprint Cup Drivers Run Nationwide Races?

LEBANON, TN - APRIL 03: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Armour Chevrolet stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Nashville 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on April 3, 2010 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images
Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IApril 4, 2010

It’s a question that’s always asked and always debated, though never seems to equal a clear answer.

 

The debate always starts with someone taking a side and arguing for it, and then another arguing against them. Everybody has their reasons and believes that they’ve got the best reasons.

 

So what are some of these reasons that get discussed? Well, here are the pros and cons that heat the debate up:

 

 

Pros

 

*Experience*

The experience that the Sprint Cup drivers have is valuable to the Nationwide drivers. They show them the correct way that they should race each other, while also giving them a taste of what it’s like to race against those who know what they’re doing.

 

*Exposure*

When Sprint Cup drivers run the Nationwide races they help draw fans to watch the races on television and also come to the races. This in return increases ticket sales, the popularity of the series, and promotes to potential sponsors that it’s a good series to come into. All of this in return is a good thing for NASCAR as this is what they want, especially in a time when the ratings and the economy haven’t been the best.

 

 

 

Cons

 

*Experience*

Well it can be a positive, but it can also be a negative. Due to their experience, they take away opportunities from the Nationwide drivers.

 

Cup drivers win most of the races (80 percent so far this year) and when they run the full season, they normally take the championship.

 

The last driver to win the championship while not running the full Sprint Cup Schedule was Martin Truex Jr. in 2005. This scenario happening would be like if the New York Yankees won the championship in the Minor League in baseball.

 

*Takes Away Valuable Seats*

When a Sprint Cup driver runs a Nationwide race, they take that potential seat and starting position from a Nationwide driver. Due to this, you see fewer drivers entering the sport who may have the talent to equal that of Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch.

 

 

There are so many reasons that could be brought up in this discussion besides those listed.

 

For me personally, I don’t mind Sprint Cup drivers running the Nationwide Series, however I think running the whole schedule is excessive.

 

Nationwide, as the series sponsor, has begun looking at the situation, especially with their addition of the Dash for Cash Program.

 

The program is the same as last year. If an eligible driver wins one of the four races in the program, the driver gets a $25,000 bonus. If a non-eligible driver wins, then the money for that race gets added to the next race.

 

As stated by NASCAR Online, “The 2010 Dash 4 Cash bonus program is open to all Nationwide Series regulars and up-and-comers, including those who may not have a full-time Nationwide Series ride. Nationwide Series drivers with a full-time ride in Sprint Cup must enter every Nationwide Series event in order to qualify for the cash payouts in the four races.”

 

The four races chosen are Nashville (April 3), Kentucky Speedway (June 12), Iowa Speedway (July 31), and Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6). They were chosen as they are non-companion dates to Cup Series races, except for Texas.

 

That is the same as last year, however it was announced this year that the end of the year bonus would only eligible to a Nationwide driver who runs less than seven Cup races.

 

This is only a step in the right direction. I think there are two more things that NASCAR needs to do themselves.

 

Firstly, any driver who is proven to be a start-and-park entry (a driver who starts a race, yet parks once he’s started to just get the money) should not be allowed to enter any race following that race.

 

By doing this, you open up the slots of drivers who are start-and-parks for drivers who are willing to run the whole race.

 

The race at Nashville had four start-and-parks, so therefore that would’ve opened the door for four drivers who really want to do this.

 

Secondly, put a limit on the amount of Cup races a Cup driver can run.

 

Some say that number should be 10 or 15 and I’d agree with that number. However, if they don’t want to make the number that small, they can say that Cup drivers cannot run any races that are non-companion to Cup events. This would therefore eliminate the possibility of a Cup driver winning a Nationwide championship.

 

No matter what you think, this is one of the hot topics that surrounds NASCAR and we know that everybody has an opinion on a hot topic. So what do you think?

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