Kyle Busch’s dominance has brought into question the wisdom of allowing Cup Series drivers to step down a level or two and compete with those who have not attained their level of experience.
In the 2013 Nationwide Series season, Cup Drivers won 26 out of 33 races. Ex-Cup or part time drivers won 6 more, leaving only one Nationwide only driver Ryan Blaney to win a race. Just so we don’t put all the blame on Busch, he won only 12 of the 26 races won by Cup Drivers. He is one for two this year already.
There are two schools of thought about having Cup drivers in the lower series. The first one is that these races need to have some well known drivers in them in order to gain attention and sell tickets. There may be some truth to this but it probably doesn’t equate to that many more fans in the seats.
The second thought touted by the drivers in those series is that they gain valuable experience racing these Cup drivers. They also feel a huge amount of pride if they beat them. This doesn’t make sense because it is obvious they are not beating them. In fact, at the end of many races they are not even racing them, the front of the field is all Cup or Ex-Cup drivers.
What should NASCAR do about this?
One need only look back to 2003, when the Nationwide Series was called the Busch Series, to see what we had and perhaps what we could get back to. We had many different winners: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jamie McMurray, Joe Nemechek, Todd Bodine, Kevin Harvick, David Green, Matt Kenseth, Scott Riggs, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Bobby Hamilton, Jr., Jason Keller, Scott Wimmer, Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip, Johnny Sauter, Greg Biffle, and Kasey Kahne.
Sure this list looks like a list of Cup drivers—and it is—but there are some Busch drivers who won; 17 races out of 34 to be exact.
Digging deeper, there is one common thread: almost every Cup driver who won a race then had raced full time in the Cup Series for five or fewer seasons.
This is the solution that NASCAR should take. Allow Sprint Cup drivers to race in the Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series only in their first five years of full time Cup Series racing. It’s that simple.
The ultimate goal is for the lower series to have rivalries and followings all their own. Future Cup stars can be Nationwide stars or Camping World Truck Series stars. Cup drivers who lose rides can drop down to show they still have it to make it back. Having the drivers’ experience more matched will make these series more competitive, just like years past.
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Feature Photo Credit: 295721 Chris Trotman/Getty Images