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Head2Head: Should NASCAR limit part-timers in NNS races?

August 21, 2012, ,

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve lived up to its short-lived NASCAR reputation this past weekend -- it was wild. Twelve lead changes, eight cautions -- three of which came in the final 10 laps, and another dramatic green-white-checkered finish that saw Justin Allgaier bump Jacques Villeneuve from the lead for the victory. (Race Highlights)

There's no doubt the race was entertaining and exciting, but is there a downside to the wildness that is Montreal? More than a dozen drivers were making their one and only Nationwide start this season and these guys aren't interested in points or championships -- they just want the trophy. For championship contenders like Elliott Sadler -- it creates a lot of tension and uneasiness.

"It's just different racing," Sadler said. "Everybody's on different agendas and you've got to understand some of these road course guys aren't racing for points, they're racing for wins. And when you're racing them, you can't put yourself in a tough position."

Should NASCAR limit part-timers in Nationwide events?


Ridiculous. I learned something while watching the Nationwide race in Montreal this past weekend -- to be in the title hunt at a road course event in Canada will age a driver a decade. The stress of trying to win a championship over 10 months is taxing enough, but then there are races like Montreal, which was in a word -- ridiculous.

I'm all for drivers getting an opportunity to race with the big boys in the Nationwide Series, but there is just too much on the line for the actions of some Saturday in Montreal and it's time NASCAR take a serious look at how many and which part-time drivers are allowed in a field.

There were at least 16 drivers at Montreal who were there for that race and that's it. Sixteen guys who couldn't care less about Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., or even the 2012 season. They were there for one reason -- an ego trip.

This is a multi-million dollar industry, and too many guys are racing for a career, not just showing up trying to feed their bloated heads and pocketbooks.

If a driver wants to try and make a career in NASCAR, then he or she should have every opportunity. But for the Villeneuves, Carpentiers and Taglianis who don't have the skills or talent to race a full season; show up one Saturday a year in Canada and don't care whose championship hopes they ruin just for the opportunity to shine in front of their countrymen -- it's time for NASCAR to say no.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Limiting the number of part-time drivers in the field would deprive NASCAR of the things that make it an all-American sport, even when it travels north of the border.

NASCAR is a business and must make money to survive. Having hometown drivers such as Alex Tagliani, Patrick Carpentier and, especially, Jacques Villeneuve race at Montreal is smart. NASCAR needs to sell tickets, and what better way to do it than to have drivers people want to see on the track. Even from thousands of miles away, you could feel the crowd rooting on Villeneuve, who led a large part of the race at a place named for his father.

Every driver will tell you that to be the best, you have to compete against the best. Title contenders should welcome the part-timers' challenge. Teams bring in road-course specialists because they think that gives them the best chance to win. If points leader Elliott Sadler or another top driver is really worthy of the Nationwide championship, he should have to win it against the experts.

And don't forget the also-rans. There are teams who simply can't afford to run a full schedule, but their drivers gain valuable experience whenever they step foot in a race car. That driver who only enters a few races could be the next Jimmie Johnson. Why should he be penalized because he can't run a 33-race schedule?

If NASCAR changes it rules about part-timers, maybe we all should move to Canada because it would go against the principles on which the sport was founded.

Deanna Engel, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

While the championship contenders survived relatively unscathed, at any moment their title hopes could have been destroyed by someone making just one start a year. Is it time for NASCAR to look at its part-timers and make some changes? Bill Kimm and Deanna Engel are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Read their arguments and weigh in with your own in the comments below.