Despite New NASCAR Rule, Cup Drivers Still Lapping Up Nationwide And Truck Series Spoils

Charlotte, NC (April 25, 2011) – A new rule aimed at keeping NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from winning championships in the Nationwide and Truck Series divisions was enacted prior to the 2011 season. Now, if NASCAR would mandate a rule that would keep the Cup interlopers out of those division races and more importantly, Victory Lane, we’d really have something.

To date, there have been a total of 13 NNS and Truck Series events in 2011 and Cup drivers have won 12 of them. The fact that Cup drivers have won all eight of the Nationwide races contested so far this season should be no surprise. Over the past five years, Nationwide Series ‘regulars’ have won an average of just one race a season while the Cup guys have lapped up all the spoils available in the division.

That’s one Nationwide race victory out of the normal 35 or so that are contested each year.

This season has started out even worse. Under NASCAR’s new point system, current Nationwide point’s leader Justin Allgaier hasn’t even led a single lap this year. That’s not a slap at Allgaier. It’s tough to break through when 28 of the 40 available top-five positions in the first eight Nationwide races this season have gone to Cup drivers.

Meanwhile, the Truck Series has been more balanced in the past, but things seem to be trending toward the Cup guys this year as Johnny Sauter is the only Truck Series regular to break into Victory Lane in five events.

While NASCAR’s new rules will produce a non-Cup season champion in both the Nationwide and Truck divisions, it obviously hasn’t done anything to keep the Cup interlopers out of Victory Lane.

The reality is that little or nothing has changed thanks to NASCAR’s new Nationwide and Truck Series division championship rules. The bottom line is big league Cup drivers are still taking the lion’s share of the money, prime television time, available sponsors and hardware in NASCAR’s ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ division events.

Of course, the not-so-dirty little secret to all of this is that NASCAR and the racetracks – many of them owned by NASCAR’s parent, International Speedway Corporation – make more money on Nationwide and Truck races when Cup drivers participate. With no disrespect to guys like Sauter and Allgaier, it’s a given that having Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards on the marquee is going to sell more tickets, beer, hot dogs and the like.

As far as we know, there is no other sport that allows its top division stars to go down to the ‘minor leagues’ and cherry pick the spoils the way NASCAR does.

As long as money – and not competition – greases the wheel, don’t look for NASCAR to throw the Cup guys out of these divisions anytime soon.

That said, here’s hoping that the series regulars who are ‘declared’ the Nationwide and Truck Series champions this season can say they won a couple or races – or that they at least led a few laps.

If not, there won’t be a lot of shine on the championship trophy no matter how many times you rub it.

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