Without Cup drivers, Nationwide Standings are a joke

NASCAR made the decision this year to pull the plug on Sprint Cup regulars being able to win the Nationwide title. It makes sense as no other sport allows it’s star athletes to compete in lower divisions to win titles. Then again no other sport has the time or in the case of the NFL ability to play it’s marquee names two or three times a week.

The result was NASCAR allowing Cup regulars to participate in Nationwide events but prohibbiting them from capturing the end of season championship.

The result thus far this year has been a series standings that hardly reflects what is going on with the drivers on the track.

Combined the drivers who are in the top-10 in points have 5 top-5 finishes on the year. Two of them came from points leader Reed Sorenson. They have 14 top-10’s in 30 combined starts.

It’s also quite possible that the end of year Champion may not even win a race, or perhaps only one. So much for the ‘we need a champion who wins’ idea NASCAR has pushed for so hard on TV.

I’ll concede that Sorenson, Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and former cup driver Elliott Sadler all could win a race but combined how many events do you think the Nationwide full time drivers will win when compared to the Cup guys? Odds are Kyle Busch will outscore them all by himself.

Last year Justin Allgaier and Boris Said were the only two drivers not on the Sprint Cup circuit full time to win a race at the Nationwide level.

If a similar story develops this year what will the reactions be?

Tony Eury Jr said that finishing inside the top-15 was pretty easy in the Nationwide Series, the sad thing is finishing inside the top-15 a few times will result in one of these guys being crowned a champion.

For what it’s worth I’m hoping Sorenson can find his way to the winners circle at-least once this year and give one of the Nationwide only teams the series title.

John Boarman
John Boarmanhttp://www.tireball.com
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.


  1. Nascar went half way to start with. I despise watching a Nationwide race with half a dozen cup drivers hogging up the top 10 spots. Kick their butts completely out of the series. Problem solved.

  2. Yep. Then they try to say something to the effect of
    “Jason Leffler is doing a great job. He’s the highest runner of our Nationwide only drivers back there in the 8th position.”

    I’ve said it time and time again. You don’t see Albert Pujols collecting at bats for the Springfield Cardinals during his downtime.
    And I’ve never seen Peyton Manning throw an AFL TD.

    But NASCAR wasn’t gonna miss out on the dollars and cents.

  3. Additionally I’ve wondered how eliminating Cup drivers from Nationwide races would effect the start and park teams.

    Would their elimination lead to these guys running full races or would it just create more?

    If there was 10 less cup funded teams then your chances of winning or having a good run would increase.
    Of course the flip side is 10 less cup drivers would mean 10 more possible start and parks which could lead to half the field off the track by lap 20.

    I’d like to believe scenario one would be more likely though, especially with tire rules being what they are in the series. You would know your break even number every week.

  4. If they eliminate the cup drivers from either the truck or nationwide series would be a mistake. I watch all three series and i’m not sure i would if the cup guys were not in them. If your a good driver in a good car you should be able to beat a cup driver anyway. Its a good measuring stick for the drivers of the other series to go up against a cup driver. Thats life live with it.

  5. I agree with everyone here and I am torn on how to fix the problem. Cup regulars deserve to race if they want to, but it destroys the authenticity of a nationwide or truck champion.

    Perhaps a heat race and feature style would fix the problem, with cup guys only being able to race the heat or feature?

    Or maybe they should allow cup cars and nationwide cars/ trucks on the same track at the same time like in GT racing?

    Frankly, I would like to see a cap in the money allowed by large race organizations and even audits of race shops. Either that or allow smaller teams to test and large ones not, while setting a spending limit or internal resources limit as a criteria for testing. For example, possessing a shaker rig or in house wind tunnel would ban teams from testing or renting either would also prevent a team from testing. As a mechanical engineer and as a math instructor, these things make it more intriguing, but may create more problems down the road.

    What do you think? My ideas are on the fly so….

  6. I have had a slightly different suggestion that what is currently used. If you are outside the top “35” in points in Sprint, then you may run in another division. If you are in the top 10 of nationwide then you may run, or attempt to qualify/run, in Sprint. If you own your team then you may run in that division regardless of standings.

  7. the nationwide was originally started as a traing ground for the new and upcoming drivers. i used to love watching the nationwide, just to see how the new guys were doing. since the cup drivers took over the nationwide, i have lost complete interest in watching. i will not watch any nationwide race until nascar does the right thing and gets rid of all cup drivers in nationwide. the cup guys are there and only take all the money new and or little teams need to stay competaive.

  8. nascar should never have allowed the cup drivers to become so dominate in the nationwide series to begin with. do we all forget why the nationwide was started to begin with. it was a training ground for the new and upcoming drivers.

    i used to love watching the nationwide (then busch) series. i always enjoyed watching the new guys. lately i have lost all interest in watching the nationwide. i will not watch anymore nationwide until nascar get rid of the cup drivers completely in the nationwide

    the cup guys are only there to use it as practice time, plus for the money, which should be used to help the new and/or little guys start out. the cup guys have gotten too greedy.

    nascar needs to do something before they totally ruin the nationwide series, which is real close to happening already.


  9. I raced for many years. I never felt it was my place to drop down and race in a lower class just because I had the opportunity to to it. It seemed wrong to compete against racers who disn’t have the funding to move up or lacked the experience to move up. I am sure the cup guy justify it because the ar really only racing againt other cup drivers. In that respect there are actually two races going on at the same time. The real nationwide drivers racing nationwide drivers and cup drivers against cup drivers. The cup guys don’t belong there in my opinion messing up the field possibly taking out a full time nationwide driver while the play withthe little guys.

  10. The next winner (and the one after that and the one after that etc) will likely be a Cup driver. NASCAR doesn’t care about the well-being of the Nationwide series and only sees it as a cash cow. Barring Cup drivers from running for the Nationwide championship is a very small consolation. As long as unlimited Cup drivers compete, there will be no outstanding Nationwide drivers and we’ll continue to have a shortage of rookies in the Cup series. Does Kevin Conway ring a bell? NASCAR has shown a disgusting lack of support to its Nationwide regulars. Preventing Cup drivers from winning the Nationwide championship is a lame joke! The eventual Nationwide champ would be 10th in points under the old system. It’s about the wins, NASCAR. Without wins, Nationwide regulars will never have the opportunity to stand out and step up to the next level. Every once in a blue moon, when a Nationwide-only driver gets a win, everyone makes a huge deal of it. Does David Gilliland ring a bell? That alone should be enough to prove that the Nationwide series is BROKEN.

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