NASCAR officials have limited the number of races Cup Series drivers can race in for the Xfinity and Truck series, and there has been debate as to whether that was the right decision.
This season, Cup Series drivers with five years of experience or more are limited to 10 Xfinity races and seven Truck series races. But the new rule limits Cup drivers to seven Xfinity races and five Truck races.
The FOX NASCAR Race Hub crew discussed the issue, and they all mentioned how they saw both sides of the argument.
Casey Mears said limiting Cup Series drivers will be a good thing for the full-time Xfinity drivers so they can win races and earn points for the postseason. But he also said he enjoyed racing against the Cup drivers because it gives you a chance to “solidify” yourself and prove you belong. He cited Daniel Suarez’s win over Kyle Busch as a recent example of a young driver solidifying himself by beating a veteran driver.
“I think it’s going to be a work in progress,” Mears said. “NASCAR is just making changes as they go to see how things are going to react.”
Andy Petree argued that using Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series races can help find sponsors who might not be willing to go all out and sponsor a Cup Series race.
“You take that Cup driver and try to leverage it a little bit,” Petree said. “OK, he’s running on Sunday. Who can use him on Saturday? We can go out there and maybe find us a sponsor that’s not willing to step up to the Cup level.”
Petree said he calls it “cultivating a sponsor,” and teams employ the same strategy with pit crews. He did say he understands the frustration from Xfinity drivers and fans when someone like Kyle Busch wins multiple races, but from an economics standpoint, NASCAR officials need to be careful of how much they limit the Cup Series drivers.
Driver Regan Smith said he wants to run in Xfinity races because it helps make him better as a driver. He said it helped him learn the racetracks, but he also understands the complaints from the other side.
“These guys are good race car drivers, they’re coming down here and getting in very good race cars, and they’re beating us every week,” Smith said. “It’s a challenge to try and climb that ladder and try to beat them.”
Smith said he sees the argument from both sides, and he isn’t sure what the right answer is for the future.
For now, NASCAR officials will limit the Cup Series participation in the Xfinity Series to see if it helps with the competitive balance.
(h/t FOX Sports)