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New qualifying rules in NASCAR

For those who follow NASCAR, here is simple (relatively speaking) explanation of the new qualifying rules for the upcoming season since the Top-35 rule has been scrapped:

"For every Cup race this season, the 36 fastest cars will make the field. Rather than, say, 13 go-or-go-homers (non-exempt cars) competing for a maximum of eight starting spots, every team that takes to the track knows one thing. If you're among the 36 fastest, you're in the race. Period.

The next six positions — provisional starting spots — go to the top six cars in owner points that haven't qualified on speed. The 43rd position is reserved for a past champion not other qualified, provided he participated in the Cup series during the previous season. If there's no past champion to fill the final spot, it goes to the seventh car in the owners' standings not otherwise qualified." Rules Explanation 


So finally, outside the Top-8 in owners points, you have to haul ass to make the race and can't just mail it in anymore. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. Smaller teams that could consistently run in the 20-30's by using qualifying setups and make the top-35 now stand a greater chance to not make the race. The bigger teams shouldn't have an issue unless their driver dumps the car in qualifying and is outside the top-8. This means that there were a few races last season where big names such as Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon would not have made the starting-grid due to wrecking in qualifying, and they were 10-15th in points. There is only one Championship provisional spot. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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