NASCAR Further Limits Cup Participation in 2018

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By Caleb Whisler, Motorsports Journalist

After previously limiting participation by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) drivers in NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) events in October 2016, NASCAR announced a further limitation Tuesday.

Beginning in 2018, drivers with more than five years of experience in MENCS will be limited to seven races in NXS and five races in NCWTS events. The limit in 2017 was 10 races in NXS and seven in NCWTS. For the playoffs and regular season finale, MENCS drivers, no matter what the experience, are barred from the events. MENCS drivers will also be barred from any of the four NXS Dash 4 Cash events.

“We heard loud and clear from the fans that they want to understand who the emerging stars are. We are in a bit of a cycle right now. We knew that we have a pipeline full of drivers that will be ready to compete at the highest level, but we got to continue to share who these drivers are,” said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations, to SirusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive”.

At Indianapolis, NXS Managing Director, Wayne Auton, gave reporters a clue that something was happening in regards to how many races Cup drivers would be allowed to participate in but he stopped short of giving specifics. The following day, the subject was again discussed by NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, on SIRIUSXM NASCAR radio.

The participation limit is designed to further highlight the abundance of young talent in the lower divisions and strengthen the identities of all three national divisions. The changes were made based on fan and stakeholder input.

“Fans have made it clear that they want to see the future stars of the sport racing against their peers in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series,” said Cassidy. “These guidelines achieve that and preserve limited opportunities for developing drivers to compete against the best in motorsports.”

The updated guidelines will not apply for NXS or NCWTS drivers competing for the championship.

NASCAR officials began the process of limiting MENCS driver participation in 2011 when the sanctioning body announced that drivers would have to declare points for one series.

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