Is the Cup Half Full or Half Empty?
Normally I do not offer statistics in my articles. They are based on my thoughts and observations only.
Recently I wrote an article about the racing at Atlanta. I included all 3 NASCAR Series in the observations I offered. Noticing the trends of so many Cup drivers dropping down to race in both the Xfinity and CWTS (truck) series, I felt it may be worthwhile to observe how many continued to invade the lower series for several more weeks. Therefore, I offer this second article on that subject.
Note: After the Xfinity race in Atlanta, the winner's car of Cup driver Kyle Busch was found to be too low on both the right and left front. However, true to NASCAR's tradition, he got to keep the win and money anyway. I still don't understand why they do it that way.
After Atlanta, the next race was at Las Vegas. There was no truck racing scheduled at that track but there was Xfinity racing, and as it was with Atlanta, quite a few Cup drivers also entered this race. Of particular interest was the results of the 2nd round of qualifying. Six of the top 12 qualifiers after that round were Cup drivers and six of the top 12 were regular Xfinity drivers. A Cup driver was awarded the pole position. So does that mean their cup was half full or half empty? Let's think about that for a while. We will touch on it again later and again at the end of the race. For now, let's proceed on to the first stage of the Las Vegas Xfinity race. The first 4 finishers in this stage were Cup drivers with a regular finishing 5th then another Cup driver in 6th while the rest of the top 10 were regulars. That made 5 from each series finishing in the top 10. The second stage had 6 Cup drivers finish in the top 10 while there were 4 regular Xfinity drivers in the top 10. So I ask again, is their cup half full or half empty? Let's look at the final results of the race. Cup drivers took the first 3 spots at the checkered flag plus 3 more spots in the top 10. That means regular Xfinity drivers took only 4 spots in the top 10. Overall, to me it seems that cup is more than half empty.
At this time however, I am still not sure if only the Xfinity regular drivers who finish in the top 10 after each stage and at the finish of the race receive the extra points or if they follow through and give all 10 top regular drivers points regardless of how they finish. Keep in mind that drivers of the other series do not receive points when they race in another series. I do not take the time to review all the points so I am unsure how they award them to the regulars at this point. I must admit that the new scoring system in both Xfinity and CWTS is very confusing to me. Perhaps someone can advise how it works?
Next came the Xfinity race at Phoenix. There was no CWTS (truck) race scheduled for this track. Not as many Cup drivers entered this race. A regular Xfinity driver took the pole and only 2 Cup drivers started in the top 10. This was very pleasing to a lot of us. Three Cup drivers placed in the top 10 at the end of stage 1 and one of the Cup drivers won that stage. That meant there were 7 regulars who finished in the top 10 of the first stage. At the end of stage 2, only 2 Cup drivers finished in the top 10 and one of them won that stage. At the finish, it was regular who won the race with Cup drivers taking the 2nd and 3rd place finish. The rest of the top 10 were Xfinity regular drivers. This race was fairer to me and perhaps we can say their cup was half full at Phoenix.
Toward the end of the race at Phoenix, there seemed to be retaliation taken on an Xfinity regular driver by a Cup driver. The incident I am speaking of was when Austin Dillon deliberately crashed Cole Custer for what he felt was unnecessary contact earlier. NASCAR is looking into that incident to determine whether penalties should be issued.
If you have any thoughts on Cup drivers dropping down to race in the lower series on a regular basis, I would love to hear your comments on that. Or you may email me. Thank you.