No one will ever accuse NASCAR of the same inflexibility that has long dogged major league baseball. After years of fans complaining, the motorsports racing body has placed meaningful limits on how much driving the top-tier racers can participate in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series- a practice long known as “Buschwhacking,” in a nod to the days when the division was known as the Busch Series. Now, veteran drivers with more than five years of fulltime Cup experience will be limited to 10 appearances in the Xfinity Series and seven in the truck series. They will also be precluded from participation in the Dash For Cash and from the last eight races of the season.
At long last, the Xfinity Series will finally have an identity. Now, up-and-coming racers get an opportunity to develop. Younger Cup drivers will mix it up with the new kids on the block, with a sprinkling of journeymen Cup drivers.
The move strikes a healthier balance. The Cup drivers aren’t completely gone. What will be gone is such a heavy presence of drivers from the premier series using Xfinity races for a practice run. Dale Earnhardt Jr. can still run the plate tracks. Kyle Busch will still have the chance to appear in over a quarter of the races run on the lower division schedule. High profile Cup drivers can still entertain those who saw them get started at their hometown tracks- there won’t be the glut there was before.
Before you Kyle Busch fans flame me for this view, be sure that I didn’t like Carl Edwards doing it, and I don’t like Kevin Harvick doing it. If they want to make cameo appearances, great, God bless ’em. On the other hand, when Cup drivers continue to win 70 percent of the races staged in the Xfinity Series, that isn’t right.
Oh sure, someone will try to find a way to game the system, and when they do, NASCAR will have to address it. That aside, it will be nice to have a real-life Xfinity Series, and not “Cup Lite.”