Big NASCAR names face crucial race

A number of big names risk losing their guaranteed starts in forthcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup races if they do not score a good finish at Bristol this weekend

Big NASCAR names face crucial race

Following Sunday's fifth round of the championship, the current owner standing will dictate which drivers are locked in the field for the following race regardless of their qualifying speed, as per NASCAR rules.

Those in the top 35 will automatically make the field, while a few remaining spots will be available for the fastest qualifiers at every event from the sixth round of the year onwards.

For the first four races of the season, last season's final car-owner standings are used to determine which drivers are locked in the field.

One of the highest-profile entries in jeopardy is the No.39 car from Tony Stewart's new Stewart Haas operation, driven by his team-mate Ryan Newman. While Stewart has enjoyed a solid start to his season, Newman has had a series of misfortunes and risks losing his current guaranteed status.

"So far, it's been a challenging time," said Newman. "To be honest we've had fast cars. We know where we're at performance wise and it's a lot better than what our finishing results show. We've just had too many hiccups and unforced problems that have stalled our momentum."

Rookie Joey Logano, who has endured a difficult start to his debut season as well, is not in a comfortable position either. His Joe Gibbs entry is currently 33rd in the car owner standings, just 36 points off from falling outside the top 35.

But even in a more difficult situation is veteran Mark Martin, whose Mary Hendrick-owned No.5 car ranks 35th in the standings following two consecutive retirements due to engine failures, plus a tyre blow-up that left him only 31st at the flag at Atlanta, after starting from pole position.

Behind him is another entry that is still guaranteed the start under last year's points. The No.8 car owned by Chip Ganassi and driven by Aric Almirola is currently in 36th place. He, like Martin, has only finished half the races this season and besides being at risk in the standing, his team only has funding for a handful more races.

Scott Speed is also out of the top 35, his No.82 car owned by Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz currently showing in 37th place, following retirements at Fontana and Atlanta, the first due to an engine failure, the second due to an incident.

Speed's entry finished inside the cut last year, driven by AJ Allmendinger for the majority of the season. Now at Richard Petty Motorsports, Allmendinger's entry currently ranks a comfortable 20th.

Travis Kvapil, who had finished inside the cut last year but had to give up his status to new Yates driver Paul Menard for this season, is outside the top 35 at present and right behind Menard's entry in the car owner standings. While the latter has his season guaranteed thanks to family funding, Kvapil's future remains uncertain.

shares
comments
Gordon: We've turned the corner

Previous article

Gordon: We've turned the corner

Next article

Kurt Busch hopes to keep momentum

Kurt Busch hopes to keep momentum
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021