I thought that I would talk about this first since there might be some more news coming later. The rules of Sprint Cup Series state that if you are in the Top 35 in OWNERS POINTS at some point in the season, you are guaranteed a starting spot. It was created in 2005 after several teams in the Fall 2004 Atlanta race made the race that perhaps should not have qualified and sent some teams home that should have made the race.
NASCAR then implemented a rule that stated that the Top 35 teams in owners points would be guaranteed to start the first five races of that year. The rule has not changed since. Some teams have gotten guaranteed spots after getting a team's points that closed.
I have no problem with that because someone has to get those points. A rule cannot be changed just because some team closed. Most of the teams in the Top 35 are multi-car teams. There are some single car teams that try to make it in there. Front Row Motorsports is a prime example of that. They made it stick the entire season.
The #82 team was a victim of it. That team got outside the Top 35 with Scott Speed, missed some races, and were never able to get back in there. They will probably have a guaranteed spot in the field since several teams could close.
It will be interesting to see which teams survive the first five races and get into the Top 35. Once a team has a gap between it and the 36th place team, it is almost guaranteed to start the rest of the races for that season. However, those teams have to tread very carefully to make sure that they make it. It is a tricky proposition at the back of the field. Unfortunately, it may not change any time soon.
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