Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NASCAR announces competition changes for 2013

New Qualifying Format For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Highlights 2013 Competition Changes

Rule Places Greater Emphasis On Speed
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2012) – NASCAR today announced a number of competition changes for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that places a greater emphasis on speed.

Below is a breakdown of next season’s slate of competition updates…

Qualifying Format In The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
In NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, the series will move to a 36-6-1 format where the fastest 36 cars will make the race on speed.

The next six highest ranking cars in owners points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying and who have entered the event by the posted entry deadline will also make the field. The final starting position will be awarded to the most recent eligible past champion driver. If there is no eligible past champion driver, then a seventh car will make the field based upon owners’ points.

Provisional positions in the 36-6-1 format will be lined up by owners’ points, not speed.

Since 2005, the top 35 cars in owners’ points were guaranteed a spot in the field. Now, only a maximum of seven cars will be locked into a given race.
“This is a big win for our fans,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “They’ll see the fastest cars earn their starting spots. This change adds intrigue, drama and excitement to qualifying.”

In 2013, the qualifying order for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events will return to a random draw. However, in the event qualifying is canceled due to rain, the field will be set per the rule book and the starting lineup will continue to be determined by practice speeds.

Additionally, provisional positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be based upon the previous year’s owner points for the first three races, as opposed to the first five races in previous years for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and four races for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Testing Policy Opened Up For 2013
Beginning next season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there will be up to four tests per organization available to teams at tracks at which the series competes. Since 2009, teams could only test at tracks that did not hold NASCAR national series events.

“We feel like it’s time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back to facilities that host our events,” said Pemberton. “We made the decision at the end of 2008 to restrict testing, primarily for economic reasons. Now we believe it will be best for the garage and for the tracks to have some testing return in 2013.”

For the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, starting in 2013, there will be up to two tests per organization at tracks where those series compete. If the organization has an official Sunoco Rookie of Year candidate, then that team will receive one additional test. Additionally, NASCAR will open track activity early for extended practice at two additional events per series, to be determined.

Maximum Field Set At 40 Cars For NASCAR Nationwide Series
In an effort to strengthen the ownership base up and create a sense of urgency among teams to make races, the maximum starting field for the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be set at 40, as opposed to the 43-car field in previous years.

A maximum NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting field will remain at 43 cars while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will hold steady at 36.


  1. Not sure what is accomplished by going back to the "old" qualifying format. Drama and excitement to qualifying? There's no such thing, period.

    Just four tests? Here's a novel idea - let them test any time they want. It worked before all these stupid testing limits were put in.

    And since when did reducing the size of the field strengthen anything? Sense of urgency? That's supposed to exist only in the racing, not qualifying.

    1. I don't think it's about adding drama to qualifying as much as making sure only quality cars are in the race. I think this will cut way down on the number of start-and-park cars (and there are 3-6 of those in every race). If you have 4 or 5 start-and-park cars, then some Mickey Mouse operation can start a race, wait for the S&P cars to drop out, and stay out of trouble until the first or second wreck and finish at least 35th and hold on to the guaranteed starting spot next week. This is racing, and only the fastest cars should be in the field.

      Now if they were REALLY serious about eliminating S&P, they would hold the field at 40 in all 3 series. This isn't 1999 anymore, where everybody and his duck had money and sponsorship that could keep them in the circuit all year. One of the things that is negatively affecting the quality of the product right now is that when the first green flag drops, you know only about half the field has a snowball's chance in hell to win.

    2. If they're concerned about quality cars in the race, then work to reduce the spending by teams so Start and Parks can afford to race for real. Racing is NOT supposed to be about "the fastest cars" - it's supposed to be about PASSING.

      40 cars is not enough for a field, then or now. The Start and Parks are not the problem, they are a symptom of the real problem - too much spending in the sport.

  2. And I'll go a little further. First, cut the starting field to 40, then award no points for finishing 36th-40th. Not only do the S&P cars go away, but so do some of the half-cars that come back on track after getting torn up that barely make minimum speed to pick up 1 or 2 points. Either that or raise the minimum speed.

    1. And what does this solve? How about instead the sanctioning body help get more sponsorship to the start and park cars so they can afford to race?