NASCAR Limiting Championship Options

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Carl Edwards (60) and Brad Keselowski will be forced to choose between running for the NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series championships during the 2011 season. Both drivers ran for both championships last year. (HHP/Gregg Ellman Photo)
Carl Edwards (60) and Brad Keselowski will be forced to choose between running for the NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series championships during the 2011 season. Both drivers ran for both championships last year. (HHP/Gregg Ellman Photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — NASCAR will make a significant announcement to competitors later this week at Daytona Int’l Speedway during its Preseason Thunder test of the new asphalt at the 2.5-mile oval.

Drivers will have to choose which series they will earn championship points.

So instead of drivers such as Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard running for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series simultaneously, they will have to choose one series or the other.

Of course both will choose Sprint Cup because it is the premier rung on NASCAR’s ladder but the change will attempt to keep Cup drivers from raiding the Nationwide Series. This change will allow the drivers who earn their living in Nationwide to battle for the title without being pushed aside by the Cup drivers.

Despite the change, Cup drivers will still be allowed to compete in Nationwide Series races, but won’t earn points toward the championship.

Although it has already been published on the 2011 NASCAR license application, competitors will be notified of the change by NASCAR officials at a Competition Update

In 2011, the Nationwide Series championship will be determined by drivers who depend on the Nationwide Series for their livelihood. Back in the day when this was the NASCAR Busch Series, such drivers as Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton used this series to hone their skills before moving up to Cup full-time.

By making this rules change, NASCAR is getting “back to its roots” while still allowing big-name drivers into the lineup on Saturday. Those Cup drivers can still compete for victories; they just won’t get any points for the season championship.