Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Limits 2017 Cup Driver Participation In XFINITY, Camping World Truck Series

The era of Sprint Cup drivers moonlighting for the majority of XFINITY and Truck Series races will be curtailed somewhat in 2017.

NASCAR announced new rules Wednesday limiting the number of races its top-tier Cup drivers will be able to participate in the minor leagues.

Under the new rules, slated to start in February, full-time Cup drivers with more than five years of full-time experience will be limited to 10 XFINITY and seven Truck Series races per year. Those drivers are also banned from running at all in the seven-race postseason Chase for each division. Cup veterans are also banned from the regular-season finale in each series, along with the four Dash 4 Cash races in XFINITY designed to highlight the success of full-time drivers in major events.

NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy, who made clear to NASCAR.com this change “was not a new discussion,” said the sanctioning body is excited to clear the way for full-time XFINITY and Truck series drivers to enjoy more success in their division.

“You see the desire and the calling of the fan base to say, ‘we’re interested in who’s coming up through the system, we want to hear the stories, we want to understand who these drivers are,’ so that they can begin to formulate and build their future roster of drivers that they root for,” he said. “It’s on us to make sure that we find the right balance, as the league, to say that there is some level of participation by Cup drivers in Truck and XFINITY and what that balance is.”

The rule has a direct effect on Kyle Busch, who leads the way among Cup drivers with nine XFINITY wins this season, including the most recent Chase event at Kansas. Under the new system, he’d be limited to just 10 XFINITY starts in 21 races and none after the Darlington event in early September.

There are a number of Cup drivers who won’t be affected by the rule yet. Cup rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, young talents Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon along with Matt DiBenedetto are among those who can cross over without penalty.

The changes also allow for exceptions, full-time Cup drivers choosing to run for the Chase championship in a lower series. JJ Yeley, Elliott Sadler and Morgan Shepherd are among those going that route.

But NASCAR hopes the changes lead to a continued reduction of its superstars dipping down into lower series. The move follows a 2011 change that forces drivers to run for points in only one of its top three divisions: Cup, XFINITY or Trucks. That prevented full-time Cup drivers from winning the championship in lower series.

About the author

The author of Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 40+ staff members as its majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. Based outside Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild. He most recently consulted with SRX Racing, helping manage cutting-edge technology and graphics that appeared on their CBS broadcasts during 2021 and 2022.

You can find Tom’s writing here, at CBSSports.com and Athlonsports.com, where he’s been an editorial consultant for the annual racing magazine for 15 years.

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So 10 XFINITY and seven Truck Series races per year.

So that means Kyle Busch will have 10 Xfinity Series Wins and 7 Truck Series Wins then you got Denny Hamlin with the chance of coming in and take some victories. Kevin Harvick will run in some and take some victories, Then you throw Dale Jr in some races and he can steal a win. Still leaving a chance that Xfinity Regulars and Truck Series Regulars still won’t have the victories compared to Cup Drivers DOUBLE DIPPING INTO THE SERIES. Then you say There are a number of Cup drivers who won’t be affected by the rule yet. Cup rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, young talents Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon along with Matt DiBenedetto are among those who can cross over without penalty.
Just wait till next Year and will compare the Xfinity Regulars Victories & Truck Series Regulars Victories and this won’t change NOTHING. The only way to change it is to BARRING ALL DOUBLE DIPPING !!!!!!!!!!


Not seeing much change here, but didn’t really expect NASCAR to put their foot down. BZF still lives in his fantasy $$$ driven sport.


I forgot about Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano into the mix. I don’t think this will stop the Cup Drivers from taking a majority of the WINS still from the Xfinity Regulars


I think the four restrictor plate races should be mandatory for the Cup regulars. They can give the new guys the benefit of their experience. Learn from the best!


That would put Kyle Busch out because his WIFE won’t let him run in those races LOL

Bill B

Are you insinuating that Samantha wears the fire suit in that family? :)




This is a good first step. I actually didn’t expect NASCAR to go this far, I only expected a Chase ban. I don’t have much a problem with young drivers in the Cup Series competing. This should produce a balance of Xfinity regulars competing against Cup series “young guns” on a more regular basis. However, I expect JGR to see be winning a ton of races in 2017 no matter who is driving their cars.


ha, that’s funny “made it clear its not a new discussion”. Way overdue. Hope that it does what it was intended to do. Never know with Nascar, seems there’s always a loophole and way around things.


A big loophole. Like JGR can give each of their drivers 10 races. Each cup team can do the same. The rule should have been 10 races per cup team. Nascar screwed the pooch big this time. Like someone said “lip service”

Biff Baynehouse

Whelp, gloves off …I here-by name these the “Powdy rules”. I love the intent, but…
10 & 7 still seems like a lot. Plus, by the time you consider the 5 year loop hole, there is not much tooth in this at all. KyBu has done 16 NXS & 4 CWT races in ’16, winning 9 & 2, with 13 & 3 top 5’s respectively. With the new rules, he will still win 5 & 2 of 35 & 25 series events per season, with no shortage of other “exhibitionists” free & clear to pick up his slack.
So, I think the changes make for interesting convo, but, when the rubber meets the road this will amount to lip service that will not amount to a big bottom line change, with regard effectively elevating media exposure & opportunities of NXS & CWT drivers, teams & sponsors.
Keeping “exhibitionists” out of events (finale, “chase” & D4C) that identify those series is a step in the right direction, for sure …albeit a baby step considering the 5 yr. loophole on limitations in the regular season. While it definitively will emphasize the younger “exhibitionists”, it does NOT limit their participation. For example, the 5 yr. loop-hole means the new limits do not apply to the likes of: CElliot, ADill, RyBlay or KyLar …the latter of whom has intentionally wrecked several “chaser” caliber “regular” drivers this season alone. This (a non-points “exhibitionists” participating & negatively effecting “regulars” who is on the cusp of “chase” qualification) is VERY unfair to “regular” drivers, teams & sponsors. This change FAILS to address or prevent that sufficiently!
With that in mind, I appreciate the intent, but considering the no-so-limiting limitations & the loop-hole, these new rules most likely will not result in much of a change on the track. The limits ought ‘a be more like 5 & 3. Plus, this should be applied unilaterally, so the 5 year thing ought ‘a be eliminated. As is, “exhibitionists” will probably still win more events than regulars.


Well, the whiners got their way and the “Kyle Busch rule” goes into effect – similar to the PGA Tiger-proofing the Masters. I think it says a lot about a competitor when the entire sport changes its rules to limit his participation and dominance. And there is nothing to prevent JGR from using its other drivers, Kenseth, Hamlin, Erik Jones in the #18 car, so what has NA$CAR really accomplished with this change? Nothing. It will not help ratings or attendance or the level of competition.

Bill B

“And there is nothing to prevent JGR from using its other drivers, Kenseth, Hamlin, Erik Jones in the #18 car.”

Exactly and that’s why when they re-appraise this rule next year, they will make that limit on the team as well as by driver. So, no team can have more than 10 cup drivers in the first 21 races and no cup driver can drive in more than 10 races.
It’s a shame that these great drivers aren’t willing to drive for under-funded teams that ordinarily can’t sniff the top ten. I don’t think fans would mind that as much as having them show up week after week, in the best equipment and most well funded teams.

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