NASCAR has updated its qualifying procedures for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to use team owner points as the primary basis for awarding provisional starting berths when more than the maximum 32 trucks are entered in a given race.
The change shifts from the current system of using qualifying attempts as the main determining factor in assigning provisional starting spots. The procedural update, which was to be communicated to teams Wednesday afternoon, is scheduled to go into effect for the series’ July 12 race at Kentucky Speedway.
Brad Moran, the Camping World Truck Series’ managing director, said the change was intended to emphasize teams’ performance over their number of starts. The update aims to eliminate barriers to participation for start-up and part-time teams by creating performance-based incentives within the provisional system.
“Back in the day, it probably made a lot of sense,” Moran said, “but where we’re at today with the new NT1 engine and new teams wanting to participate and wanting to grow, it didn’t give them that opportunity unless they came to every single race, and we want to put the best field in front of the fans and put the best race on we can. For the last couple years, we’ve seen that unfortunately some quality trucks went home and we want to try to avoid that if possible.”
The rules update will also affect how the series sets the starting lineup in the event of inclement weather.
Currently, positions 1-26 are set by team owner points, with the remaining six spots going to former driver and owner champions, driver and owner race winners (if not otherwise qualified) and team owner race attempts. In the new format, owner points will determine positions 1-25, with the 26th and 27th spots going to the fastest two drivers from combined practices. The remaining positions will go to eligible former champions and winners as with the current process, but with owner points having priority over attempts in the criteria.
“The weather portion, you get a lot of good teams that come with sponsorship and buy all their tires and they’re there to really participate and try to win the race,” Moran says. “Basically they would spend all that money and the way it was structured, if that weather came and it rained that they had no opportunity to make the show, so that was really spending good money for bad. That was obviously keeping some people home and looking at weather and looking at the forecast and so on. …
“So, really if you have six new trucks show up for any particular event, they know if we get on track for even one practice session, they know they have an opportunity to make that show if they’re the fastest two of the six, where really they had no opportunity in the past.”
Moran said NASCAR competition officials have moved forward with the rules bulletin to get a head-start on full-season implementation in the Camping World Truck Series for 2019. Four races are scheduled over a five-week span to give teams time to adjust before the rules debut at Kentucky in July.
“They’ve put big efforts into this part of the year and we want that to continue, so we didn’t want to flip a switch on,” Moran said. “We felt it would be fair to the industry to give it a runway and not make it too long a runway because it was an initiative that we wanted to do, because we feel it’s going to improve the look of the series and the quality of our series.”