Preseason Thunder started yesterday for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, home of the first events for 2004. As the "Odd car owner 2003 point standings finishing positions" took to the track to prepare for the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials hold press conferences to announce new rules for 2004.
Rumours have been floating for months, even before the end of the 2003 season, that NASCAR would change the overall point system. The first major announcement from NASCAR is a change in how the provisionals will be used in 2004.
Provisionals are when a team does not qualify in the top 36 and therefore, they take one of their allowed provisionals in order to make it into the 43-car field on race day.
First major change is to increase the number of allowed qualifying positions to 38, instead of seven positions needed to be filled by provisionals, only five will be available.
Only NASCAR Busch Series and the Nextel Cup Series are affected by the new rule. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will remain unchanged.
Motorsport.com's NASCAR staff will have further updates later.