By admin | March 27, 2009
By Richard Allen
I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again anyway. There has to be a better way of setting the field and determining who races and who doesn’t when it rains out qualifying on Friday.
The lineup has been set for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 in Martinsville based on car owner points. Rain set in during the afternoon on Friday in southern Virginia causing NASCAR to cancel qualifying.
Last year this happened ten times. That means there were ten occasions in 2008 in which some teams pulled all the way to places like California and New Hampshire only to be sent home without even a chance to put their car in the show.
And more, pit selection will be based on points rather than qualifying times. Pit selection often times determines track position and these days with the difficulty of passing that can decide the winner of a race.
This will be the first race in which the 2009 owner points will be used rather than those of 2008. It may be a good thing for some teams that they ran well enough to make the Top 35 last week in Bristol.
Unfortunately for four teams, they will not have the chance to compete. Drivers Sterling Marlin, Tony Raines, Dennis Setzer and Derrick Cope did not make the race due to the situations of their car owners.
NASCAR has two practices scheduled on Saturday for the Sprint Cup cars. That second practice could easily be converted into a qualifying session. If it continued to rain then they could go ahead and use the points to set the field. But at least, four teams would not have hauled their cars to the track without every possible effort having been made to give them a chance to race on Sunday.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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