A news story from Friday night that was overlooked much more than it should have been was the way the field was set for the Nationwide Series after qualifying was rained out. The top-30 were locked in on last year's owner points, of course. But what about everyone else? Well, that was left up to random chance. The remainder of the field was set by qualifying draw. If you pulled #31 out of the hat (well, it's not really a hat, but that's not important here), you were in good shape. But if you pulled out #50, you went home.
I am very disappointed in NASCAR for this decision. Yes, that is technically the way the rulebook reads. But generally, if this rule is needed later in the season, qualifying draw only determines the last one or two spots in the field, if any, among new teams that have not yet attempted a race. That still isn't a great system, but it isn't nearly as significant. However, when dealing with the first race of the season, they need a better system. Months of hard work by these teams should not be negated by which number you pull out of a hat.
There are many different options. NASCAR could hold qualifying Saturday morning, which would be the best choice. If that is not possible due to time constraints, perhaps they can just hold qualifying for those outside the top-30 and place the fastest 13 at the rear of the field. After all, where you start doesn't really even matter at Daytona; it's just having the opportunity to start period. If that's still not an option, base the remaining spots on practice speeds. It may not be perfect, but it definitely beats a random draw. And if NASCAR doesn't like any of those ideas, they could still fill out the field using last year's points instead of just going by the top 30. The way they did it was not fair to anybody involved and it is something they should take a serious look at between now and next February.
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