By admin | December 19, 2011
By Richard Allen
When asked to name their least favorite things about the sport of NASCAR racing, fans often list the rule that guarantees those teams within the top-35 of the owners’ standings into each race near the top. That proved true during a Monday night Twitter and Facebook discussion regarding the least favorite rules in NASCAR.
This upcoming season, a simple matter of attrition may cause that rule to become null and void, or inconsequencial, at some point in time.
With a lagging economy forcing companies to more carefully mind their advertising dollars, there could possibly be fewer than 35 teams with enough funding to make each of the thirty-six trips on the Sprint Cup schedule.
Using the 2012 team chart on Jayski.com as a guide, I counted twenty-five cars that I feel certain will run every race. (Those car numbers are 1, 2, 5, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31, 39, 42, 43, 47, 48, 56, 78, 88 and 99.)
The closure of Team Red Bull combined with the reductions at Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing accounts for the loss of four fulltime Sprint Cup rides(Those car numbers are 4, 6, 33 and 83). Add to that, the Jayski team chart is filled with so much uncertainty among the remaining teams that it appears unlikely many, if any, will emerge from that group to run a full schedule.
There are a number of teams listed(Nine by my count including 13, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 51, 66 and 71.) that could be considered anywhere from fulltime runners to start and parks to dissolved by the midway point of the season.
It doesn’t take much of a mathematician to figure out that the twenty-five teams listed in the first group and the nine listed in the second group adds up to thirty-four. As in any unofficial survey, there has to be a little margin for error figured in. So, there could conceivably be as many as thirty-six teams at the beginning of the upcoming season who intend to run the full schedule. But, there could also be as few as thirty-two who may actually make it.
My opinion has always been that there needs to be some guarantee in terms of which teams will make the field for a race but that thirty-five is too many. If a team cannot maintain a spot in the top-25 of the standings, they should have no assurance of making a race without the speed to do so. By having so few open spots each week, NASCAR might have actually discouraged the formation of new teams.
What all of this math amounts to is that one of the most disliked rules in all of NASCAR could be rendered null and void by the end of the season. The high cost of racing combined with the lack of interest in full fledged sponsorship could serve to accomplish what the cries of disgruntled fans has yet to get done.
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