Recently, I’ve had a few discussions with race fans via Twitter regarding the amount of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) drivers racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). This is a debate that is certainty not new to NASCAR and in fact, it is the reason officials decided to mandate that each driver must declare at the start of each season which division they wish to be given points toward the championship in. The point was to let Nationwide regulars win the Nationwide title and to hopefully discourage some Cup drivers to double dip. Well, 16 of the drivers that raced in the NNS event at Texas are also participating in the Cup race so those rules obviously haven’t discouraged them.
Should NASCAR put further rules in place to either limit or completely stop these drivers that love to pull double duty? If they decided to implement such rules regarding this issue, there really isn’t much they can do that isn’t beyond reason. They could simply tell Cup drivers that they are not allowed to race in any division other than the NSCS and that would eradicate the “problem” instantly. I put the word problem in quotations because I don’t personally see it as an issue whiles a large contingent of race fans do. I look at it this way, what better way for the Nationwide regulars to learn than to be racing the best guys in the sport? The reason why fans are getting so incensed by the Cup guys this year unlike 2012 is because Kyle Busch has won 4 out of the last 5 races aggravating a bunch of people. Sure, no one likes to see one guy dominate but if you eliminate the Cup guys, you will probably have a Nationwide guy like Austin Dillon dominate instead.
I don’t have a problem with our superstars racing on the Nationwide side but I do have a slight issue with Cup teams fielding Nationwide teams just so they can put Cup guys in them. I think it’s a waste for the best teams in NASCAR to field Nationwide cars and not even give the guys trying to work their way up a chance to drive them. I have to give major kudos to Jack Roush because if you look at his driver lineup at Texas, you would see that they were all up and comers instead of Cup guys. I’d love to see a JGR team fielding Parker Kligerman and Alex Bowman instead of Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. NSCS drivers double dipping may good for ticket sales except for when Kyle Busch has wins almost every race in dominating fashion. Here is a solution; put Busch in Robby Benton’s #99 and we’ll see if he can parlay that into a victory. He will still be fast but at least the Nationwide regulars might have a fighting chance against these titans of the sport and a small team would get the opportunity to have some major talent wheel their racecar.
I’d love it if NASCAR told all the Cup guys that they were only permitted to drive cars for teams that don’t run in the NSCS. NASCAR can still let the Cup teams field Nationwide ones but only allow them to hire Nationwide regulars as their drivers. I know that this is a crazy idea that in reality would never happen but it’s cool to think about the possibility of it. Anyway, back to reality….. Denying Cup drivers the right to race in NNS isn’t right in my opinion. When a Nationwide regular wins a race these days, they get noticed a lot more than they would if they weren’t racing against Busch, Keselowski and Harvick. It gives a NNS victory more credibility when you beat the best the sport has to offer.
The only reason why this issue has even been brought back up is because Kyle Busch is back to his old form and winning races left and right. The people against Cup drivers racing in Nationwide say that in F1 and Indycar, you don’t see the superstars racing in Indy lights in GP2. That is a very good point but how many people truly watch those forms of racing? Indy Lights only has about 9 drivers and is on the verge of collapse. Spice the field up with Franchitti and Hinchcliffe and I guarantee you that it will help.
You can’t tell these guys what they can and can’t race in. NASCAR tried a long time ago to tell drivers that they couldn’t race in anything that wasn’t NASCAR sanctioned and it caused a lot of trouble. In fact, they indirectly took the 1950 title from Lee Petty after taking 809pts way from him part-way through the year for breaking the rule. They also permanently banned future HOF’er Curtis Turner for the same infraction as Petty. The fact of the matter is that these guys are racers and they love to race. They don’t care if it’s Nationwide, a USAC Sprint car or some Late Model event in the middle of nowhere. All they want to do is drive and you can’t blame them for that; it’s in their blood.