BUSCH: NASCAR modifies provisional rules

It's been an off-season of change for the NASCAR rule book and on Tuesday, the sanctioning body announced modifications to provisional starting spots for the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series. The new rule bumps the number of cars that qualify...

It's been an off-season of change for the NASCAR rule book and on Tuesday, the sanctioning body announced modifications to provisional starting spots for the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series.

The new rule bumps the number of cars that qualify for the race based on speed from 36 to 38. The remaining five cars would be placed by car owner provisionals, including the final spot, which will still be reserved for a past champion that didn't otherwise qualify for the event.

"I've thought about this," says veteran driver Michael Waltrip, who used provisionals to make the field three times in 2003. "(It) would eliminate somebody just showing up that didn't have a prayer for making the race."

NASCAR also changed how they hand out the provisional spots. Teams that are competing in their first season or finished 46th or lower in the standings the previous season must attempt to qualify for four races before earning two provisionals. In the past, teams would receive four provisionals after attempting to qualify for one race.

"I think you have to protect your competitors that are there every week," Waltrip says. "I would like to see a provision put in where if someone races all the races or seeds himself in the top 45 in points, then if you're outside of that group when you show up, you can't just make an attempt to qualify and be eligible for that position. You must earn that provisional by qualifying for an event on speed. So for example, you qualify 30th at Pocono. Now you have earned a provisional to fall back on next time."

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Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Michael Waltrip