In the Pits
No Chase for Nationwide Series
NASCAR is considering changes to the Nationwide Series, such as making full-time Sprint Cup drivers ineligible to win the series championship, but don’t expect to see a Chase format for the Nationwide Series.
“We have four national divisions, and we’ve got to distinguish them,” says Brian France, chairman and CEO of the sanctioning body. “I think making too many things that would not differentiate them wouldn’t be good. So I don’t think you’re going to see that – I know you’re not going to see that.”
The Chase determines the champion of the NASCAR’s top series. The top 12 drivers after 26 races are eligible to win the championship. It is determined by their performance during the final 10 races of the season.
As for the need to balance the participation of Cup drivers against the desire to highlight the accomplishments of full-time Nationwide competitors, France says, “I think you’re going to see some work in that area on our behalf to change the way we reward the Cup drivers who are involved in the Nationwide events. We are not altogether certain of how. ... Obviously, we’ve got a number of ideas – just which ones we’ll use, I’m not sure.”
In other news, the firesuit uniforms worn by 10 legendary drivers during an exhibition race at Bristol in March were put up for auction on eBay, with all the proceeds going to two-time Nationwide Series champion Larry Pearson, who was injured in the event.
In addition, the helmet that Pearson wore in the race was on the auction block. The helmet was signed by most of today’s Sprint Cup Series drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie John-son, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Mark Mar-tin, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle.
Pearson, 56, was T-boned by Charlie Glotzbach late in the Scotts EZ Showdown on March 20. Pearson suffered several broken bones – including his pelvis, right arm and both legs – and three cracked ribs. The funds raised from the auctions will go directly to Pearson to aid with expenses.
The one-of-a-kind firesuits were produced for each driver by Hinchman Racewear and resembled those used by NASCAR drivers during 1960s and 1970s.
Ten of the 12 participants in the race had their authentic suits up for auction: David Pearson (Larry’s father), Cale Yarborough, Harry Gant, Jack Ingram, race winner Rick Wilson, Phil Parsons, Dave Marcis, L. D. Ottinger, Tommy Houston and Jimmy Hensley. The suits were auctioned as-is after the drivers climbed from the cars, and selected ones are autographed. The month-long auction ended Aug. 27.
Pearson won the 1986 and ’87 series titles and had 15 wins in 259 starts from 1982-1999.
Sources: NASCAR, Sporting News