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NASCAR: Changes Need To Be Made To The Xfinity Series

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by Brian Thornsburg

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is only two races old and already it’s clear that NASCAR has an issue.

NASCAR, we have a problem.

When NASCAR officials first introduced a miniature version of the Sprint Cup Chase for the Xfinity Series it was a breath of fresh air for fans. However, now that two races have passed without a regular in the series getting a victory, one has to wonder if this was really the best idea for a series that is almost always dominated by upper tier drivers.
Sure, the idea to give the Xfinity Series and even the Camping World Truck Series seemed like a great way to increase viewership, competitiveness among drivers and excitement in the bottom two series, but all that will likely be overshadowed if Sprint Cup drivers continue their history of dominance in the Xfinity Racing Series.
In fact, out of the 33 races in the Xfinity Series last year, only ten races were won by a driver competing for a championship in that series. That means Cup drivers captured the checkered flag in 22 of the 33 races last year. The trend becomes even more disturbing if you look at the 2013 Xfinity Series season, where Cup drivers took home the trophy 27 times, including the last six races of the season.
That history of dominance was continued this year at Atlanta, where defending Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch led 119 of the scheduled 163 laps in The Heads Of Georgia 250 and ultimately came away with the win. Unfortunately for Xfinity Series regulars, this victory marked the second time in 2016 that a Sprint Cup driver has won a race.
Looking further into some of the statistics in 2016, four of the drivers that finished in the top-ten during The Powershare 300 at Daytona were Cup Series regulars, including the top three finishing positions. Even worse, Cup Series regulars combined to lead a total of 102 laps in that Daytona event.
While these stats are indicative of why NASCAR Officials need to restrict the Sprint Cup drivers from competing in the secondary series, the sad truth of the matter is they really can’t. Not only would taking the Cup drivers out of competition in the Xfinity Series diminish the appeal of the events to fans, it would also rob the younger drivers of the opportunity to compete against their Cup counterparts.
NASCAR may never be able to restrict Sprint Cup drivers from competing in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, but they can change the overall effect the Cup drivers have on each series. To achieve this NASCAR needs to take a look at the playoff system that was just recently implemented in the Xfinity Series.
The playoff system, which is basically just a miniature version of the playoff system implemented in The Sprint Cup Series back in 2014, rewards the winner of each race with a spot in that year’s eight race playoff system for the championship. While that system has worked extremely well at the cup level, the dominance by Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series makes it very difficult and unlikely that the same can be said for the Xfinity Series.
To combat this problem, NASCAR needs to simply rework the playoff system to reward the highest finishing Xfinity Series driver in each race of the season. This could be accomplished by simply rewarding a spot in The Chase to the highest finishing Xfintiy Series driver in each race of the season instead of just making the driver make the Chase on points if a Cup driver wins.
Another thing that could even the odds a bit for the Xfintiy Series drivers would be to award a first round bye to another driver that managers to beat out a Cup series driver for a win. Doing this would not only allow for the Cup drivers to affect the outcome of the points system in a positive way instead of a negative one, it also adds a new level of excitement for fans that watch The Xfinity Series every week.
If rewarding a driver that didn’t win a race doesn’t seem like a popular option, NASCAR could just award the highest finishing Xfinity Series driver with a spot in a last chance race to determine the final starting spots in that year’s Xfinity Series Chase. The race could be held at the end of the regular season at Richmond International Raceway and would definitely add another layer of excitement to the final race before The Chase.
Regardless of what changes NASCAR makes, it needs to do something to level out the competition in each series. Not only would not doing so be a huge slap in the face to drivers who are trying to cut their teeth in the Xfinity Series, its also a slap to the sport that desperately needs to see a crop of new faces rise to to the top of the racing landscape.
Despite NASCAR’s unlikeness to make changes now, especially after just introducing their new playoff system last year, they did make a change to the points system back in 2011 that helped shift the balance of power to to the Xfintiy Series drivers. The change, which was made to address the growing number of Sprint Cup drivers that pulled double duty and won The Xfinity Series championship, mandated that each NASCAR driver only register to compete for the championship in one series. The change has allowed for a different champion in each series and helped each series break out into its own identity.
Unfortunately for drivers in the Xfinity Series and the fans at home, it will be up to NASCAR officials to recognize this problem and ultimately address it. Whether they actually do that or not remains to be seen, but with the competition shifting more n more in The Cup drivers favor and the growing difficulty of filling the stands full of fans, it doesn’t look like NASCAR will rectify this problem anytime soon.

NASCAR: Changes Need To Be Made To The Xfinity Series
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"While these stats are indicative of why NASCAR Officials need to restrict the Sprint Cup drivers from competing in the secondary series, the sad truth of the matter is they really can’t. Not only would taking the Cup drivers out of competition in the Xfinity Series diminish the appeal of the events to fans, it would also rob the younger drivers of the opportunity to compete against their Cup counterparts."

What they should do it just limit full-time cup drivers to no more than 5 xfinity starts a year, don't outright ban them but just keep guys like Busch and Logano from running like 15+ races a year.

The other thing the xfinity series needs is a major schedule overhaul. Dump Pocono, Michigan, Indianapolis, Chicagoland, Kansas, and one Texas and Charlotte race and go back to tracks like IRP, Nashville, Gateway, The Milwaukee Mile, Memphis, Montreal, Pike's Peak, etc.
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Once again....ITS BEEN TWO FREAKING RACES. I swear to god this is the fourth article that says something stupid. Best comebacks in 2016, Kasey Kahne is having a rebound year? Not so fast, two great finishes means a great year ahead... Holy fack NASCAR. Fix it, kill it with fire please... Write something that uses common sense.
I'd take this article more seriously had this not been an article from Beyond the Flag. They have to be one of the worst websites for racing.
Go back to the way it used to be. Have the Xfinity Series run a majority of their races as a standalone event at smaller tracks. Forget the ISC tracks. Go to the same tracks ARCA goes to. You'd draw bigger crowds to a 1/2 mile fairground speedway than you would at Pocono or Auto Club, the day before a Cup race featuring the same drivers.

I'd turn on the TV for every Truck and Xfinity race if they ran a unique schedule.
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Maybe go to low-downforce package? (I really know nothing on these Xfinity cars.)

Now for schedule overhaul, here's the problem with that idea, money. I imagine these tracks have to pay NASCAR tons of money to get them to come over. So much where these smaller tracks can't afford to do so. They easily do ARCA or K&N because they are cheap compared to the national three series. Not to mention NASCAR will take a hard look at this track to see whether it's safe enough for the cars to driver and whether the track has enough room for everything.

We have to remember is that these things between NASCAR and tracks is a business transaction and if it doesn't make sense financial wise for either side, they won't pull the trigger no matter how bad you want them too .
Let the drivers race, limit the involvment of the Cup organizations. If a guy wants to run XFINITY races have him drive for an XFINITY team or start his own outfit (but have checks and balances in place to make sure it wasn't a Cup team under a different name). If Cup teams still want to be involved let them build engine and chassis supply programs that are made available to every team running their make. Sprint Cup drivers are not the issue. Sprint Cup drivers in what amounts to Sprint Cup-caliber XFINITY equipment are the issue. A driver is just a driver, always has been.
I can see where this would be problematic.
Changes needed for Xfinity series:

1. Get rid of their chase before it happens.
2. More standalone events from the Sprint Cup Series.
3. Cap on cup driver participation.
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Limit how many races Sprint Cup regulars can run. That alone would solve the damn issue. 5 races and that's it. You're done. It would prevent Kyle and Joey/Brad from going out and just dominating races that would affect the championship in the long run.

Having more stand-alones or even double-headers with the Trucks would also work. Gives the fans more 'bang for their buck' if they want to go there in person, and also double how much the rest of us have to watch back at home.
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