NASCAR recently changed some of its rules, including eliminating the top-35 rule and going back to the format that used set fields before the rule was implemented in 2005.
The move was expected and is one of several changes that were announced recently by top officials of the motorsport, who also stated that the sport would be reducing the Nationwide Series fields from 43 cars to 40 beginning in 2013.
One of the biggest changes will be seen during the upcoming Sprint Cup Series, in which the best 36 cars based on speed in qualifying make the field. The next six open spots will be figured out by owners' points, leaving one final spot for a previous champion.
“This is a big win for our fans,” said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. “They’ll see the fastest cars earn their starting spots. This change adds intrigue, drama and excitement to qualifying.”
For the Daytona 500, NASCAR announced that it will do it much like it had before the top-35 rule was implemented. Changes include qualifying speeds determining the front row.
“We feel like it’s time to open that up and allow the teams to manage their testing and get back to facilities that host our events,” Pemberton said. “We made the decision at the end of 2008 to restrict testing, primarily for economic reasons. Now we believe it will be best for the garage and for the tracks to have some testing return in 2013.”
Other changes that will take place include the qualifying order of the Sprint Cup Series being based on random draws as opposed to practice speeds. Pemberton expressed that teams were using up more tires than they usually did so they could turn a fast lap in practice to get a good qualifying spot, but they won't have to use this method any longer.
Other changes include last year's owner points being used to set provisionals in race fields for the first three races, which is a reduction from five races.
On top of NASCAR looking to increase its performance for fans, the motorsport also recently announced that it has signed a new deal with Fox TV that would allow the network to continue televising Sprint Cup races through 2022.