NASCAR transforms regional racing program with two new divisions: NASCAR Elite and Grand National Divisions created to enhance driver development DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2003) - NASCAR has formed a new "feeder system" for its three ...
NASCAR transforms regional racing program with two new divisions:
NASCAR Elite and Grand National Divisions created to enhance driver development
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2003) - NASCAR has formed a new "feeder system" for its three national series, with the creation of two new racing divisions.
The all-new NASCAR Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division will provide a clear path for local and regional racers to advance towards the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
"This represents a bold new direction for NASCAR's regional racing programs," said Chris Boals, NASCAR's director of regional touring. "These new divisions are a model for the sustained growth of our sport, and offer excellent opportunities for driver development at each level."
The NASCAR Elite Division will consist of four NASCAR-sanctioned series: the Featherlite Southwest Series, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series and the newly renamed International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series (formerly the RE/MAX Challenge Series) and Kodak Southeast Series (formerly the Hills Bros. All Pro Series).
The Elite Division will accommodate drivers who have recently been competing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge or at other local short tracks. At this level, competitors will compete on a variety of tracks before progressing to other NASCAR divisions.
Once a competitor has gained experience in the Elite Division, the next logical step is the NASCAR Grand National Division, which will now consist of the Busch North Series and the NASCAR Winston West Series. Previously, these cars had different specifications - the Busch North Series cars are modeled after the NASCAR Busch Series cars while the NASCAR Winston West Series cars are designed after NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars. The NASCAR Grand National Division will represent NASCAR's top regional touring series, where competitors will refine their skills before making the jump to one of NASCAR's three national series.
The "Grand National" designation has a long history in NASCAR racing. It was first used in 1949, when the first NASCAR Grand National Division races were held. This division evolved into the Winston Cup Series, and the "Grand National" moniker was passed to the NASCAR Busch Series in 1986. With this announcement, the NASCAR Busch Series no longer carries the name as it's passed on to NASCAR's top regional touring division.
"This newly-named NASCAR Grand National Division symbolizes the style of race cars fans have come to expect, while creating a new level of competition to support the continued growth of NASCAR racing," Boals said.
To accomplish this, the cars in the Grand National Division will be brought under the same rules and regulations. The Winston West Series, which until now used only 110" wheelbase cars, will allow 105" wheelbase machines to compete.
Other Grand National Division rules changes include:
A "closed" 390 cfm carburetor rule for both series
Quick change rear-ends will be allowed in the Winston West Series
Engine compression ratio of 12:1
A common tire rule (Goodyear bias-ply tires) for both series
"The changes in both of these divisions are important steps towards creating an effective transition from the Weekly Racing Series to NASCAR's national series," Boals said. "The goal is to create a vehicle that is similar to the NASCAR Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series, to help drivers prepare for those series, while at the same time maintaining a reasonable cost to participate."
In 2003, SPEED Channel will televise 23 NASCAR Grand National Division events, as part of its "NASCAR TV" programming. The races will be televised Monday evenings and Saturday mornings, on a tape-delayed basis. The television schedule includes 11 Winston West Series and 12 Busch North Series events.
In addition to the newly defined Elite and Grand National divisions, NASCAR's regional touring program also includes the open-wheeled Featherlite Modified Series, a series that dates back to NASCAR's first season in 1948, and the Goody's Dash Series, the only series in NASCAR to utilize six-cylinder engines in compact cars.