NASCAR Announces New Sprint Cup Series Qualifying Format For 2013 And Change To Nationwide Field

Say goodbye to the top-35 rule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, event qualifying is going back to actually being competition.

NASCAR announced a new qualifying format Tuesday to set the starting fields for Sprint Cup Series events in 2013. The new format will put the top-36 fastest cars in qualifying into the field. Six other spots will be reserved for the top-six teams in the owner points standings not already qualified into an event on speed. The final spot in starting fields will be awarded to the most recent eligible past series champion entered into the event not already qualified. If there is not driver eligible for that spot, the position wil be awarded to seventh best car in the owner standings not already in the field.

The change does away with the top-35 rule, which had locked the top-35 teams in the owners standings into the starting field for each event no matter what they did in qualifying.

“This is a big win for our fans,” Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said in a release from the sanctioning body. “They’ll see the fastest cars earn their starting spots. This change adds intrigue, drama and excitement to qualifying.”

Qualifying order will return to being a random draw in 2013. If qualifying is rained out the field will be set per the rule book and the starting lineup will continue to be determined by practice speeds. Provisional spots in the series based upon the previous year’s owner points for the first three races of the season.

NASCAR also announced Tuesday that fields for the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be decreased from 43 to 40 cars for the 2013 season.

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  1. Chuck Flynn says

    Really NASCAR? Do you really think us fans are that stupid that we can't see that you are trying to pull the wool over our eyes? You are trying to sell this as taking away the current top 35 rule when what you are really doing is pretty much making the top 42 in points now gauranteed starters! The 36 fastest cars are going to be from the top 42 points positions every week! I guess NASCAR really thinks it's fans are that dumb!

  2. They are going back to how Qualifying used to be. Befor the top 35 rule. Bravo NASCAR. Now get rid of the Chase and we can get the Sprint cup back to how is should be!

  3. Chuck Flynn says

    Paul I respectfully disagree with you. Before the top 35 rule came in there were not 6-7 provisional spots. Time was they had 1st and 2nd day qualifying (showing my age now) where the first 20 positions were locked in on day 1, then on day 2 the remaining could either stand on their day 1 time or forego the day 1 time and take another attempt. The fastest 40+ cars over 2 days raced and there were a maximum of 3 provisionals. If you didn't make it on your 2nd shot you went home.

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