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NASCAR fans, just like any other sports fans, don’t like domination. Just ask fans who don’t like Jimmie Johnson, who has won six Sprint Cup championships in the last eight years, which includes five in a row from 2006 to 2010. Fans also don’t like the Cup drivers dominating and winning every week in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. This year, the debate on whether Cup drivers should be allowed to race in the Nationwide Series has become a hot topic. NASCAR needs to severely limit the number of races the Cup drivers can run in the Nationwide series.
NASCAR’s Nationwide series is supposed to be a series for up-and-coming drivers to shine and try to make a name for themselves as they try to make it to the Sprint Cup series. Unfortunately, that’s not what the Nationwide series is right now. It has lost its identity and basically become the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jr. Last year, only five out of 33 races in the Nationwide series were won by series regulars, according to Motor Sports Talk. Since 2011, Nationwide regulars have won just 28 races out of 103 races.
This year, three Nationwide races have been won by regulars in the series. Chase Elliot (pictured below), who is a rookie in the Nationwide series, has won the last two Nationwide races. Kyle Larson, who is a Cup rookie this year, won the Nationwide race at California. Regan Smith, a former Cup driver, won at Daytona. Elliot, along with Larson, is a young star of the sport and should be winning races. Young drivers are supposed to win Nationwide races because the series is supposed to be about the young stars of the sport.
The good news is that NASCAR is looking into possibly limiting the Cup drivers in the Nationwide series, as the Associated Press notes. The limiting of Cup drivers should have happened a long time ago though, as the Nationwide series has been dominated by the Cup guys for years.
The obvious solution to the Cup domination in the Nationwide series would be to not let the Cup drivers race in the series. However, that would be bad for the series because it might not survive without the Cup guys.
There are benefits to the Cup drivers racing in Nationwide. Nationwide regulars could learn from the Cup guys. Tracks, NASCAR’s TV partners, and NASCAR also benefit, as the AP notes, because the races have lots of star power in them. But the benefits aren’t good enough because, as SB Nation notes, sponsors will go to a team with a Cup driver rather than an unknown driver. That means that NASCAR’s up-and-coming drivers, like Elliot, might not have a chance to make a name for themselves, and that’s not good for a series that is supposed to be for NASCAR’s young stars to make a name for themselves and possibly make it to the Cup Series.
Elliot’s wins prove that the Cup drivers need to be limited in the Nationwide series. Because, if they aren’t, then wins in the Nationwide series like Elliot’s will become a thing of the past and Nationwide regulars will have almost no chance at winning races. Elliot’s wins are what the Nationwide series is supposed to be about, which is young stars of the sport competing and winning races. If NASCAR doesn’t limit Cup drivers in the Nationwide series, then they are missing the point and might as well call the Nationwide series what it really is: the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jr., and they will have ruined the Nationwide series forever.