Beginning with this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, if qualifying is rained out on Friday, then the starting lineup will be determined by owner points not practice speeds. That’s a change back to the way it used to be, as NASCAR made a change a few years ago to set the lineup based off of practice speeds rather than the current points standings entering that race weekend if qualifying was to be rained out.
Starting in 2017, for the second and third events of the season, practice speeds for non-charter teams will remain the criteria used to determine race eligibility.
Also, another part of today’s rule changes are that non-charter teams are now eligible to earn a provisional starting spot for the Chase if they can make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Right now, only Ryan Blaney would be the one that it would affect, as he’s 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings entering this weekend’s race at Daytona. If he or any other non charter driver were to be able to get into the Chase, then they would have a guaranteed starting spot even without a charter.
“These changes provide a more even competition field for both Charter and Open teams, rewarding strong performances over the course of a season,” Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president, racing operations, said in a statement.
“Earning a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is extremely difficult and requires consistent elite performance. Those teams should be guaranteed an opportunity to race for the title, and this ensures that will be the case.”