With a new racing season on the horizon, NASCAR has implemented a series of new rules designed to make the sport more viable for teams and owners and more enjoyable for the fans.
For the past several years, Sprint Cup has fielded 43 cars in each race. Beginning with the 2016 season, the field will be cut to 40 cars. With the new smaller field, the winner will get only 40 points with each successive place dropping a point until the 40th place driver will get only one point.
The 40 car field will be determined by the 36 charter teams and the final four spots filled with four open teams.
The Xfinity series will continue to field 40 cars with the corresponding points ranging from 40 down to one.
The Camping World Truck Series will also drop from the field of 36 down to 32 with the corresponding points running from 32 down to one.
Drivers will also continue to earn bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps.
Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is different than any other race in the season. The pole and number two position are set by qualifying but the remainder of the field is set after the dual races.
With the new charter system in place, all 36 charter teams will earn a spot in the race. The final four spots will be filled with two spots from the duel races and two spots by pole qualifying time.
In the case of rain outs, the field will be set by dual race finishes, qualifying times, practice times, or 2015 owner points depending on what portion of the week’s events got rained out.
In the case of the remaining 35 races, qualifying will set the 36 charter team spots with the final four spots based on qualifying times. Practice times and owner points may be used in case of inclement weather.
Last season saw a number of races determined by the green/white/checker overtime rules. During the Sprint Cup race in Talladega there were a number of issues of whether or not some of the starts were “official” starts. This season NASCAR is implementing an “overtime line” to help determine when a start is official. The overtime line will be fluid depending on conditions and configurations of each track.
Once an “official” overtime start has been determined, it will be the only green/white/checkered attempt in any given race. NASCAR will no longer use the three attempt format for overtime finishes.
The green/white/checker was instituted to try and finish a race under green conditions instead of a caution flag. If the caution flag does come out after an overtime start has been deemed an official clean start, then the race will end under yellow flag conditions.
The new overtime line will be used in all three NASCAR racing series – Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World trucks.
Designed to offer better racing and increased viability for the team owners, NASCAR has implemented a charter system. Instead of the previous year to year contracts, the new charter agreements will last for nine years.
The number 36 was determined by analyzing what teams showed the biggest commitment to the longevity of NASCAR by fielding a car every week for the past three years.
A team’s charter ensures a starting spot in each race. A team owner may transfer a charter to a fellow team for one year during the first five years of the agreement. Teams will be held to a minimum of standards in order to retain their charters.
A team owner may sell a charter on the open market. Michael Waltrip Racing closed its doors at the end of the 2015 season, but were awarded two charters. With no teams to field, Waltrip can sell his charters to other teams.
As a result of the new charter format:
Joe Gibbs Racing #19
Wood Brothers Racing #21
Stewart-Haas Racing #41
and Hscott Motorsports #46
did not get a charter and will have to qualify in one of the open field spots each week; along with other racing teams who do not have a charter.
A few years ago,NASCAR put a limit on the number of cars any one team owner could have but allowed teams who were over the limit to maintain those teams. NASCAR also allowed team owners to go over the limit to field a rookie driver for a select number of races. With the new charter system, all owners will be limited to a maximum of four cars with no exceptions.
The new charter also features a new Team Owner Council which will participate as a non voting entity on matters of competition and marketing.
The cars that are guaranteed a spot in each race via the charter beginning with the 2016 season are:
car #1 owned by Chip Ganassi Racing
car #2 owned by Team Penske
car #3 owned by Richard Childress Racing
car #4 owned by Stewart-Haas Racing
car #5 owned by Hendrick Motorsports
car #6 owned by Roush Fenway Racing
car #7 owned by Tommy Baldwin Racing
car #10 owned by Stewart-Haas Racing
car #11 owned by Joe Gibbs Racing
car #13 owned by Germain Racing
car #14 owned by Stewart-Haas Racing
car #15 owned by Hscott Motorsports
car #16 owned by Roush Fenway Racing
car #17 owned by Roush Fenway Racing
car #18 owned by Joe Gibbs Racing
car #20 owned by Joe Gibbs Racing
car #22 owned by Team Penske
car #23 owned by BK Racing
car #24 owned by Hendrick Motorsports
car #27 owned by Richard Childress Racing
car #31 owned by Richard Childress Racing
car #32 owned by Go Fas Racing
car #34 owned by Front Row Motorsports
car #38 owned by Fron Row Motorsports
car #42 owned by Chip Ganassi Racing
car #43 owned by Richard Petty Motorsports
car #44 owned by Richard Petty Motorsports
car #47 owned by JTG Daugherty Racing
car #48 owned by Hendrick Motorsports
car #62 owned by Premium Motorsports
car #78 owned by Furnture Row Racing
car #83 owned by BK Racing
car #88 owned by Hendrick Motorsports
car #95 owned by Circle Sport Racing\
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