When Brad Keselowski is officially crowned the 2010 Nationwide Series champion at the completion of the Ford 300 Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will mark the end of a dark era for the series' history.
According to a USATODAY.com report, NASCAR CEO Brian France announced that a new system of deciding a Nationwide Series champion will be unveiled in January. It is largely expected that this new criteria of choosing a champion would exclude Sprint Cup drivers, assuring the series would get a Nationwide-only champion for the first time since 2005.
However, Cup drivers would not be banned from visiting Victory Lane in individual races. A Nationwide-only driver has won a race this season only once, when Justin Allgaier proved victorious in the March race at Bristol.
NASCAR gets rightfully criticized for poor decision after poor decision. This time, however, the sanctioning body finally got something right.
Even if drivers like Allgaier, Trevor Bayne, and Brian Scott fail to win a single race in 2011, an easier road to a championship will provide instant credibility—and greater visibility and name recognition to Sprint Cup owners.
It's disturbing to see Cup drivers come in and dominate in the Nationwide Series standings. It's one thing to have a close, competitive points race; it's another to have a driver like Keselowski or Kyle Busch blow everyone away by mid-summer in doing so.
However, if Cup drivers were taken out of the equation this season, Allgaier would have a 658-point advantage over Bayne in the standings. (Of course, those totals aren't adjusted for positioning without Nationwide-only drivers.)
One thing is for certain—next season should produce a new young star for the Nationwide Series.
Thoughts? Comment below.
Ryan Papaserge is a junior journalism/mass communication student at St. Bonaventure University and a writing intern at Bleacher Report.