NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

       === NASCAR makes alterations to Sprint Cup qualifying in 2013 ===
 Daytona  Beach,  FL (Sports Network) -  NASCAR revealed on Tuesday a number of
 competition  changes  for the 2013 season,  including a revision in Sprint Cup
 Series qualifying and a reduction of the starting field for Nationwide races.
 Instead  of the top-35 rule, NASCAR will move to a 36-6-1 format in qualifying
 for its premier series next year. The fastest 36 cars will make the race based
 on qualifying speed/time.
 The next six highest-ranking cars in owner points that have not already earned
 a  starting  position through qualifying and  who have entered the race by the
 posted  entry deadline  will also make the field. The final starting spot will
 be  awarded to  the most recent eligible  past champion driver. If there is no
 eligible  past champion,  then a  seventh  car will  make the  field based  on
 owners' points. Provisional positions in the 36-6-1 format will be lined up by
 owner's points, not speed/time.
 Since  the start of  the 2005 Cup season, the top-35 cars in owner points have
 been  guaranteed a  starting position  for  a race.  A maximum  of seven  cars
 instead of eight will be locked into a given event under the new format.
 "This  is a big  win for our fans," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin
 Pemberton  said in  a  statement. "They'll  see the  fastest  cars earn  their
 starting   spots.   This  change  adds   intrigue,  drama  and  excitement  to
 Starting  next year,  the qualifying  order for  Sprint Cup  will return  to a
 random draw. If qualifying is canceled due to weather or any other reason, the
 field  will be set  per the rule book and the starting lineup will continue to
 be determined by practice speeds/times.
 NASCAR  also  made changes to  the provisional positions  for all three of its
 national  touring series races next season. Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping
 World  Truck Series  provisional positions  will  be based  upon the  previous
 year's  owner points  for the first three  races only, as opposed to the first
 five  events in  previous years for Sprint  Cup and Nationwide as well as four
 for Camping World Truck.
 As  part of  its rule changes, NASCAR announced the maximum starting field for
 Nationwide  races will be  trimmed from 43 to 40 cars. NASCAR said it made the
 change  "in an  effort to strengthen the  ownership base and create a sense of
 urgency  among teams to  make the races." The maximum starting field of 43 for
 Sprint Cup and 36 for the Truck Series will remain the same.
 NASCAR is revising its testing policy for all three series as well.
 Each  Sprint Cup team  will be allowed to test at a maximum of four sanctioned
 tracks.  Nationwide and  truck teams will be  able to test at no more than two
 tracks that are on their respective schedules.
 As  a  cost-cutting measure,  NASCAR  has  restricted  teams from  testing  at
 sanctioned tracks since the start of the 2009 season.
 "We  feel like  it's time to open that  up and allow the teams to manage their
 testing  and get back to facilities that host our events," Pemberton said. "We
 made  the decision  at the  end  of 2008  to restrict  testing, primarily  for
 economic  reasons. Now  we believe it will  be best for the garage and for the
 tracks to have some testing return in 2013."
 If  a Nationwide or truck team has an "official" rookie-of-the-year candidate,
 that  organization  will receive  one additional test.  NASCAR will open track
 activity early for extended practice at two additional races per series, which
 has yet to be determined.
 10/16 14:49:42 ET

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