In The Tracks...
Rule Change Needed
Qualifying and Racing Are Like Oil and Water, They Don't Mix
April 2, 2012

It is time for NASCAR to do away with the top 35 in owner points are locked into the race. Qualifying should be all go or go home, but as a perk of being the defending champion you are guaranteed a starting spot in the following season to defend your title.

NASCAR's top 35 rule was said by David Reutimann as the reason he was out on the track causing a hazard and ultimately changing the outcome of the race. Reutimann said he was limping to the finish to keep the team in the top 35 in owner points so that they would be guaranteed a starting spot. Reutimann has been tasked with the job of keeping the car in the top 35 in owner points so that when Danica Patrick returns to the car she will be guaranteed a starting spot in the races.

The top 35 rule was instituted by NASCAR when sponsorships were hard to come by and they wanted to help protect the teams with the big name sponsors to keep those sponsors on the track every week. Well, if the sponsorship dollars are put to good use the teams with those sponsors should be able to qualify for the races each week or perhaps the sponsor should choose a better team to advertise their products.

When a rule plays a factor in the outcome of a race for those that aren't involved in the rule then the rule is flawed. By that I mean if Jeff Gordon speeds on pit road the rule saying he can not speed on pit road should not negatively affect anybody but Jeff Gordon. When a qualifying rule plays a factor in the outcome of a race other than preventing those who didn't qualify for the race from winning the race then the qualifying rule is flawed.

My proposal is quite simple. Everybody shows up for qualifying and the fastest 43 cars make the field with the exception of the defending champion provisional rule. If the defending champion is not one of the fastest 43 then the defending champion's provisional takes effect and the defending champion takes the 43rd starting spot. This would limit qualifying to qualifying and not bring qualifying for later events into the actual races, which opens the door for qualifying rules to affect the outcome of the races as it did at Martinsville.

In The Tracks...

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