At the beginning of the season NASCAR implemented a Charter Agreement to provide some financial stability to the teams. It wasn’t really obvious if this would mean anything to or affect racing for a NASCAR fan. Now that we are five weeks into the season we can see how this has impacted racing and qualifying.
36 teams who have been racing full time for three years prior were granted Charters. Those teams are guaranteed to make the race each and every weekend. The field was shortened from 43 cars to 40 cars leaving only four spots in the field that can be filed by teams who do not have Charters.
There is some irony in that this is similar to the Top 35 qualifying rule which guaranteed the top 35 teams would make the filed. This rule was eliminated in 2013 with the hope to make qualifying more exciting.
Qualifying at Daytona was mostly like it always has been the only exception was the shorter field. 44 cars tried to make the race.
The next four weeks though were not. Only 39 cars entered each race so the field ended up one car short than a full field. Every car entered made the race. There are only 39 cars entered for this week at AutoClub Speedway.
The best thing about these shorter fields is that most all the cars in the field were racing most if not all of the laps. No more field fillers.
It would seem counter intuitive to actually put effort into qualifying if you are locked into making the race anyway. In reality qualifying has been every bit as important as it has always been. Those teams who have qualified at the front of the field are the same ones that are leading laps and winning races.
The new NASCAR Charter System appears to be a success for those team owners who have them. It has not affected actual action on the track in anyway.
Feature Photo Credit: 317998 by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images