Friday, January 14, 2011
NASCAR Drivers Must Declare for One Championship in 2011
NASCAR drivers will have to declare which championship they want to contend for in 2011 -- choosing to earn championship points in only one of the three national touring series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide or the Camping World Truck Series, according to a posting from NASCAR's official Twitter account late Monday night.
NASCAR President Mike Helton will be addressing the media in a "competition update" on Jan. 21 during the open test session at Daytona International Speedway and there was no official statement regarding the format change. However, NASCAR.com is reporting that veteran driver Kenny Wallace confirmed the change in policy after receiving his 2011 licensing agreement from NASCAR last week.
According to Wallace, drivers are asked to place a check next to the series of their choice, meaning that while they may compete in multiple series, the days are gone for a Cup driver to also run for the Nationwide title and/or truck series title. Cup driver Brad Keselowski (above), for example, is the reigning Nationwide Series champion and will have to decide whether to defend his title or stay eligible to try to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
It is still unclear how the points will be awarded to drivers competing in multiple series, but that issue and possible changes to the Cup series' Chase playoff format are both expected to be addressed next week in NASCAR's competition update news conference.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said repeatedly this season that he was open to changing the format in the Nationwide Series to better showcase the up-and-coming Nationwide Series-only drivers and to entice and reward teams to compete in NASCAR's triple-A series. And he has also hinted that he's open to "tweaking" the Chase format it he felt it would significantly improve the playoff feel.