As part of the Charlotte Media Week, NASCAR made some significant rule changes surrounding both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Both series will be adapting the Chase for the Championship model that has been part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Additionally, the XFINITY Series will be using heat races to set their race line-up as part of the XFINITY DASH FOR CASH races, while the Camping World Truck Series will be using a caution clock – if a caution has flown in 20 minutes, it will come out. You can read more about these changes by clicking here.
Each of the staff members for OnPitRoad.com was asked to submit their opinion on the changes, whether good or bad. Here are those answers. Be sure to comment on either the article, or via facebook with your opinion on the changes.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CHASE BEING APART OF THE XFINITY SERIES AND TRUCK SERIES?
Kreistina Binova: Many non-fans of the sport, often think of only the Cup series. I think that the chase being a part of the XFINITY and Truck series will bring more fans and more exposer. Another reason why it might be good is excitement and anticipation of what in each series will grow.
Matt Embury: Totally unnecessary, the bizarre driving and intentional accidents that have manifested themselves in the Sprint Cup Chase format over the last several years, do not need to be extended into the lower divisions. If anything it will spark more catastrophes as the younger, inexperienced driver may overreact at an even more devastating level increase the negative consequences.
Gerald Harris: I think that as far as a fans perspective it will make the last few races more interesting and draw more attention. As far as a team or driver there will be more pressure on them. There won’t be no more “If I’m in the lead I’ll just focus on finishing” they will be trying to stay on top because of the elimination rounds.
Tyson Lautenschlager: At first, I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of this idea, but I’m beginning to warm up to it. The Chase has always been entertaining, and if it’s going to bring new fans to the sport, or entice people who don’t normally watch the XFINITY or Truck Series to watch it, I’m all for this.
Ashley McCubbin: The Chase has brought forth drama, and an enhanced focus during the final stretch of the season. We’ve saw that with the Sprint Cup Series over the past several years, with many fans tuning in to see how it shook out. Therefore, it seems that this is a good idea. However, there are plenty whom said say the Chase creates a false champion as it eliminates the rest of the season, and takes away from the qualities that racing champions have become known for. As a result, the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series had a unique identity before in being able to create the alternative. It was why some focused on the series more so than Cup, seeing the close natural battle develop late in the year in both divisions. It’ll be interesting see how the fan base shakes out now with the latest statement made.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CAUTION CLOCK FOR THE TRUCKS?
M. Embury: The drivers of the Camping World Truck Series should take this as a slap in the face. That NASCAR’s brass think they cannot drive efficiently to avoid at least one wreck every 20 minutes is sad and a vote of no confidence to the future of the sport in terms of drivers capable of being successful in XFINITY and/or Cup.
G. Harris: The Caution Clock is going to take away from the competitiveness, like if someone gets out front and dominates it will take that all away and bunch up the field more frequently and give more drivers a chance to get to the front of the field.
T. Lautenschlager: I would understand this idea being implemented in the Sprint Cup Series because the races are much longer, and in Cup we’ve seen numerous races where we go more than 70 or 80 laps without a caution, but in the Truck Series, these guys run short races, and it’s rare to go more than 20 minutes without a caution, so I don’t understand this rule. The caution clock is also going to eliminate any sort of fuel mileage races, which I find very exciting. John Hunter Nemechek’s win at Chicagoland last year wouldn’t happen under this rule, and neither would John Wes Townley’s. If this rule came into play last year, two of the feel good stories of the season wouldn’t have happened.
A. McCubbin: There’s a theory behind the new 20 minute caution clock that hasn’t been expressed, but should be expressed when it comes to the series for sake of argument. The series contains a big difference between big and small teams, which results in many drivers being put down a lap over the course of a long green flag run to where only 10 are on the lead lap at the end of the race out of 36 that started. So they’re preventing that from happening, and it’s supposed to be a morale boost, create a more competitive looking experience. It’s supposed to allow those getting their start to still a feel that they have a chance. Also, it’s not totally eliminating strategy, either. Let’s recall that they have a tire limit, only allowed so many sets of tire per race. When do you put your set on with relation to natural cautions and timed cautions to be in the right spot at the right time? Even with a reasonable argument put in place, there’s actually no way to make this sound better. As Embury said, it actually embarrasses them in how it looks on surface, and just makes it feel gimmicky.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON XFINITY HAVING HEAT RACES FOR FOUR EVENTS?
K. Blinova: In the XFINITY series, some rookies come into have some experience in another motorsport. But every one is different. So it would be beneficial to those who enter a new position, to get a feel for the what kind of competition, and new surroundings. Therefore, get more practice, and experience.
M. Embury: The group qualifying did not seem to boost interest when the Cup Series employed it two years ago. The heat races were tried in the Truck Series back in Orlando in 1998 and really did not make much of an impression in my mind when used.
G. Harris: I think the heat races will be very exciting. In my opinion I think it will be better than the European style qualifying. I’m a bigger fan of heat races anyways.
T. Lautenschlager: I love this, I really do. I think it’s going to add a lot of excitement to what might have been an ordinary race weekend, and it’ll really set the ‘Dash4Cash’ races apart from the others. I’m not keen on having these heat races at Indianapolis, just because to me heat races remind of a good ‘ol fashioned short track race, but nonetheless, I’m excited.
A. McCubbin: The idea of heat races is something that I have been campaigning for over the past several years since discussions began. NASCAR wants a way to connect with the local short track Saturday night fan – well, here’s the way as everybody enjoys the action that qualifiers of this nature produce. Why do you think so many people tune in to see what happens with the Budweiser Duels in February at Daytona? I’m very interested in seeing how this plays out for the four events, and look forward to it being a successful decision by the sanctioning body. Perhaps they at least got something right this off-season.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CUP CHASE CONTENDERS NOT BEING ALLOWED TO RUN THE FINAL TRUCK/XFINITY EVENT?
K. Blinova: The he drivers that are contending for a Cup championship, should focus on that race and their strategy for the day. For example, last year there were four contenders – J.Gordon, Kyle Bush, K.Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. It was great seeing such competition and sportsmanship between all, and a show. The chase was so close.
M. Embury: The injuries suffered by Kyle Busch nearly prevented the championship season that followed. Add to that if they are indeed adding the Chase to the other two divisions that would be at least be more effective in putting the spotlight more on those division regulars who are racing for the title, instead of having the Cup stars take all the attention as they normally have in the lower two divisions.
G. Harris: I think Cup Chase Contenders not being able to race is a great idea and also a bad idea. The negative side is some fans look forward to seeing the likes of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, just to name a few racing with young rookies and helps sell more tickets to the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series events. The positive side is that the Chase Contenders will be more equal when it comes time for the Cup race. It takes away the added seat time for the Cup Chase Contenders. With all this being said the 2016 season will be interesting to see with all the added rules. Hopefully NASCAR made the right decisions, only time will tell.
T. Lautenschlager: This is a good idea, but it’s missing one thing. If the whole point of this Chase system NASCAR has implemented in the last couple years is to put an emphasis on winning, then the Sprint Cup Chase guys should be prohibited from competing in all of the XFINITY and Truck Chase races. Give the guys racing their heart out for a championship a fair shot at winning each race in their playoff.
A. McCubbin: I give NASCAR a thumbs up on this decision. With the Chase format implemented and this being the final weekend of the year, it allows all focus to be on the stars of each respective series only. Everybody can watch those battling, without having to overhear about the domination of Cup stars. Now, certainly a lot of people have stated that NASCAR could’ve gone a step further and eliminated the Cup Series drivers from the series totally. Okay, let me give you the quick run down as to why not – they bring publicity to the series, and as many XFINITY drivers say when you ask for their opinion, “I want to race against them because I learn from them and improve as a driver. If I can beat them or run with them here, then I know that I am ready for the next step.” With that said, though, I could see a limit being put on the amount of races that hey are allowed to run, say five to 10 starts a piece and no more, though to give that balance that I mentioned above, while leaving open races for teams to actually go out and find new talent.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions of this article reflect that of each writer, and not necessarily the management and other contributors of OnPitRoad.com.