NASCAR - Why Have the “attempted to qualify for every race” Rule Anyway?

NASCAR – Why Have the “attempted to qualify for every race” Rule Anyway?

Kurt Busch missed the first three races of the season due to being suspended from competition by NASCAR. Busch received a waiver from NASCAR from having to attempt to qualify for every race and is eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He currently is 8th in points with two wins, and is a serious contender for the championship.

Kyle Busch missed the first eleven races of the season due to injury. Like his brother, NASCAR gave him the same waiver. Kyle Bush has won four races and is 23 points from being in the top 30 in points which would make him eligible for the championship. He will certainly do that and if successful, will be one of the top seeds for the Chase.

The Busch brothers are each in different ways bringing up the question by their performance on the track in the races they have entered; why have the attempted to qualify for every race rule?

If you are a driver who is so talented that you don’t need to race all the races why not skip those that for whatever reason you don’t really want to compete in? Why not, perhaps, skip some of those races that are not in the Chase and that are not as prestigious?

A few weeks ago the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made it’s one and only visit to the Kentucky Speedway. Imagine if some of the stars of our sport (Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, etc) decided to have a weekend off to prepare for a future race or just have a vacation. The NASCAR product, the Kentucky Race would be worth less without them. There would be less of a reason to watch either at the track or on TV.

Imagine if a fan saved their money, bought tickets, scheduled camping and looked forward to the race; only to show up and find out the stars won’t be there. That is why NASCAR has the rule that drivers have to attempt to qualify for every race. They need to protect the product they deliver each and every week.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for

Feature Photo Credit: 310890 Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

10 thoughts on “NASCAR – Why Have the “attempted to qualify for every race” Rule Anyway?”

  1. It depends on who YOU are to get a waiver from NASCAR.. So if lets say your a driver who finishes well but doesn’t win a lot your not going to get a waiver.

    I don’t think Jamie McMurray or Paul Menard would get such a waiver yet if your a driver who does win a lot and you put butts in the seats and are named Earnhardt or Patrick you will get a waiver.

    There are different rules for different drivers and teams. Keslowski and Penske got fined for pulling the fender out to get more down force while Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick got away with it.

    It is all about money and NASCAR will make more of it if guys like Kurt and Kyle Busch are in the chase. That is why Jeff Gordon was placed in the chase after “Spin-Gate”.

    1. I disagree. Brian Vickers got the same waiver Kyle Busch did, but has been physically unable to compete. McMurray, Menard, Cole Whitt would all get the same waiver. The requirements to win and be in the top 30 are sufficient for drivers who are injured or ill.

  2. This is a two part answer. 1. There probably is no reason to have the rule except as a punishment clause at some point in the future.
    2. Kurt missed races because Nascar jumped the gun on a expected domestic violence charge that never happened and Kyle missed races because of an injury that would have at least been greatly diminished except for Nascar’s own negligence.

    1. yes but Kyle Busch was also the cause of the accident. I agree on the Kurt Busch part of it but Kyle did it to himself. Not only should he not have been racing in a lower series but was actually the instigator of the crash. To me he shouldn’t be in it because of his own stupidity.

  3. I have no issue with Kurt being given the exception as his missing 3 races was NASCAR and others over reacting to something that wasn’t actually an issue to begin with. had he been found guilty of assault and then given the waiver that would be a completely different story.

    With Kyle it’s a different story. He missed almost half of the “regular season. Yes, t his was a fault of NASCAR, for not mandating safer barriers, but name any sport where a team can miss 40% of a season, finish in the bottom 30% of the sport and qualify for the championship. Regardless of how well they play and how much they win, they won’t qualify when 70% are above them in points.

    Many people think it’s fair because it’s a team sport and the driver getting hurt means the team can’t win the championship which is unlike other sports ,where the loss of one doesn’t affect the team winning. This isn’t true because the team can still win the team (owners) championship. Kyles is strictly for the driver and based on the numbers above he shouldn’t qualify.

  4. I think I don’t want to rehash some old issues, but, with Sprint leaving, it would be a good idea to end the chase. If David Ragan was Injured or Denny Hamlin lost weekends whole, they’d not try to play Heroball like Rowdy did. And, if we truly had a level playing field, would people want to see Jr. or Danica in the XFinity Series all over again? Frankly, one would be worth our time and money while another would be a chicane.

    1. ummmm Denny Hamlin did. The rule has been around a lot longer than the current chase format and Hamlin was given an exception after her missed a couple weeks

  5. The rule should remain.

    All drivers who have recieved a waiver did so because they were unable to compete in a Cup race though circumstances not of their own making.

    They all missed races for one reason or another. All their circumstances were different but one thing was the same. None of them voluntarily chose to sit out a race

    If you take away the rule then drivers could pick and chose what races they wanted to qualify for and miss those they didn’t feel like going to.

    Stewart broke a leg, Vickers had blood clots, Kyle had a broken leg & foot, Kurt was suspended prematurely, Hamlin had a a piece of steel in his eye (also vertigo or illness although I think he did qualify for one or the other, maybe both?).

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with who you are. If they gave a “bye” to Kyle, they’d do the same for Justin Allgaier.

  6. First of all, I don’t know of any driver who was injured or sick who did NOT receive a waiver, so a McMurray or Menard would almost certainly get the same waiver Kyle Busch did. Brian Vickers also got a waiver, but has been unable to come back this year, but the waiver was on the table if he had been able to use it. Second, I don’t think drivers would be allowed to take “vacation weeks” by their sponsors. I believe ALL of you are underestimating the pressure sponsors put on drivers to race even when they are hurt. NASCAR doesn’t need this “attempt to qualify” rule because the teams and sponsors are not going to put up with a driver who takes time off for anything but serious reasons.

  7. I am waiting for a team, driver or sponsor to sue NASCAR if they do not get a waiver into the chase because someone else did for the same reason.

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