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New Qualifying Procedure Could Hamper Start and Park Teams

December 15th, 2012 at 7:34 AM
By Clayton Caldwell

Many fans hate when teams start and park. "Start and park" in NASCAR terms are when a team starts the race and pull it into the garage due to a minor mechanical failure after just a few laps. Teams would do that to collect money for the race, as NASCAR does not reward teams extra money for running every lap. So teams would not spend the money it takes to race the full race and try and make more money by doing so. 

Some small teams do it because they feel like there was no other way to survive. Others do it to milk the system. Whatever the reasons teams do it, the new qualifying procedures set for the 2013 season could hamper the start and park operations. 

The reason that the new procedure may hurt the teams is due to a little flaw NASCAR has added at the end of the procedure and something many people may have overlooked. 

As it's stands now the top 36 fastest in qualifying each week will qualify for the event. After those 36, six provisionals are handed out to the teams that are highest in owner points. There is one additional spot for a past champion, although if a past champion is not eligible to make the race, it will be another provisional position. 

The procedure is very similar to the format fans saw in 2004, before the top 35 rule was created. It's similar except for one minor tweak. Previously the procedure had a limit to how many provisionals teams could use. In 2013 that limit will no longer exist. 

With the limit gone it literally means that teams can use provisionals as much as they want and since the provisionals go to the teams highest in owner points, the teams that run the races will have more owner points, meaning most likely the teams that run the races will make the races. 

Last year Trevor Bayne's #21 ran 16 races and earned a grand total of 346 points. The #23 team of R3 Motorsports ran in 22 races and earned 82 points last season. In the new system even if Bayne were slower than the R3 Motorsports team and the R3 Motorsports Chevrolet was slower than 36th in qualifying, the 23 team would miss the race due to Bayne's points. 

'Trevor Bayne/3-11-12' photo (c) 2012, Terri  Hickox - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In 2012 Bayne and the #21 Ford finished 36th in owner points. The #23 team finished finished 44th. Bayne being higher in owner points meant nothing as far as qualifying goes. Bayne would still have to qualify his way into the race the same way the R3 Motorsports did, even though Bayne was 8 positions higher in points than the #23 team. 

With the new qualifying procedure that's going to change. Bayne would be rewarded the provisional every single time, over the #23 team because he would be higher in owner points. The start and park teams, who collect no more than five points a race usually, are at a big disadvantage. They have to be fast to make into the race, if they are not they will most likely miss the race. 

The new qualifying procedure will hamper some start and park teams, making some fans really happy. 

Tags: Motorsports, NASCAR, R3 Motorsports, Trevor Bayne

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