With six races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the race for the NASCAR championship is heating up. However, that’s not the only battle that is left in the Cup Series.
The top 35 is another battle, between four teams as they try and guarantee themselves into the 53rd Daytona 500 in February and the first five races of the 2011 season.
For those of you unclear about the NASCAR rule, the top 35 teams in owner points at the end of 2010, will race in the first five races of 2011, guaranteed. That gives them a big jump start on the season.
Let’s take a look at those cars fighting to get or stay into the top 35. Right now the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet is sitting 34th in the standings, just 53 points to the good. The No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Toyota sits 35th just 25 points ahead of The #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford who sits 36th. Lagging back in 37th, with still a shot however, is the No. 26 Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford, just 170 points back with six races remaining.
Don’t think these guys are taking it seriously? Think again.
Front Row Motorsports has made many crew chief changes on their team to try and get themselves into the top 35. Just recently y it was announced that veteran crew chief Peter Sospenzo would take over the 38 team for the rest of the year.
Robby Gordon Motorsports even decided to bring down their No. 07 Toyota this weekend in an effort to try and knock out the No. 38 team from this weekends Bank of America 500.
Latitude Motorsports has hired veteran Ken Schrader to run at Martinsville and Talladega for them, as they try and claw their way into the top 35. Think they would have hired him had they had just given up? Me neither!
Some people say that some teams will be bumped into the top 35 because Richard Petty Motorsports is losing a team. However, that is not something you want to bet on for next year.
I understand Richard Childress Racing is expanding its organization with Paul Menard. I understand they will need to get points from somewhere, somehow. But who will it come from? The only theory to me is that the No. 71 team gives up their points to Richard Childress. However, I don’t see TRG Motorsports doing that. Still, leaves the No. 98 points out and no clue where they will go for 2011. Rumors are the No. 19 car might come back next season, so they may try and use those points.
Yet, when you are talking to a sponsor it’s easier to say, “Yes we are in” than “Well we may be in,” especially in this economy.
All four teams fighting to stay in the top 35 do not have full-time sponsorship for 2011. Not only that, it’s been announced that a few more teams will try and run full time making it even tougher to get into the field come next February.
So when you say the racing in the back of the field isn’t good and they don’t care. That is absolutely false. They do care and for many teams the top 35 is the difference between racing next year and packing it in.