SBD/January 21, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Nationwide Not On Board With NASCAR Limiting Drivers To One Title Race

Nationwide wishes drivers like Edwards could compete for multiple championships
NASCAR driver Carl Edwards "still plans to contest the full Nationwide Series schedule but would prefer to be allowed to compete for the championship," and the series' sponsor "prefers it, too," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. NASCAR President Mike Helton and VP/Competition Robin Pemberton were scheduled to "outline a new rule" on Friday that "forces drivers to choose between earning points in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck series." Nationwide Insurance Senior VP/Marketing Services Jennifer Hanley said, "Our preference would be to allow a sunset clause for Cup drivers who have been dedicated to run in our series, particularly Edwards and (Brad) Keselowski." Ryan notes Nationwide was "consulted on competition changes" for '11 after NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said that he "wanted the series to become more of a developmental platform for the Sprint Cup Series" (USA TODAY, 1/21).

ALL IN FAVOR? SCENEDAILY.com's Kenny Bruce reported NASCAR drivers seem "pretty much in agreement on a new points system expected to be announced" for the Sprint Cup Series next week. Edwards said, "If I am running 12th or something, I don’t even know how many points that is worth and I have been doing this long enough that I should know. So if it makes it simpler for the competitors and the fans to follow along and understand, then I think it is a good move. We all race so hard for the wins that whatever points system it is, we are going to race hard." Five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson said, "I don't see it being a big thing. I know people expect me to react and think, ‘Oh, they've got to leave it alone, don't change it.’ I don't care what races are in the Chase, the format to win the championship." Driver and team Owner Tony Stewart: "As long as we all know what it is at the beginning, I don't think the competitors really care." Driver Kasey Kahne added, "The thing I like about it is it helps the fan understand the points a little better" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/20). In San Diego, Bill Center wrote under the header, "No Points System Perfect, But NASCAR Lays An Egg With This Idea" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/20).
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