The Daytona 500 entry list was rather short. Usually, nearly 50 cars attempt to qualify for the Great American Race. However, this time around was different. The shorter entry list may be a cause for concern for NASCAR within the next few weeks as they continue to evaluate the Generation Six car.
45 cars on the entry list for NASCAR’s largest race is a problem. If the field were shorter, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but with 45 cars vying for 43 positions, it could be a warning sign for things to come. This weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway is already a warning sign of what could come. The possibility of a short field in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series can happen this year. Just imagine how bad that would look for the sport.
43 cars are on this weekend’s entry list. Yeah, just 43. It may seem like a lot. You know, 43 cars times six pit crew members for each car, plus a crew chief, the car chief and of course, the spotter. However, a few years ago, back in 2007, the entry list was packed with competitive cars from start to finish. Now, it seems like there’s a few teams out there just coming to the track for the heck of it. Not giving their all because of a lack of funding. That’s not what it was like back in the day. If a team had limited funding, they ran the full race, even if they were at the back of the pack with garbage tires and barely any crew members. That’s what true NASCAR racing is about.
NASCAR needs to do something about this. Phil Parsons Racing, a team that’s been around for a few years now, isn’t on the entry list for Phoenix because they didn’t build enough of the new style cars to race this weekend. The price of building the new cars with the small amount of funding they had just wasn’t adding up in time. It’s sad to say that this is probably going to become the reality for several teams within the garage area. The No. 95 team of Leavine Family Racing won’t be attempting all of the races either, that takes out another car. Then there’s the No. 44 team, a new organization that not many folks know about. They probably won’t run too well this year if they even run a majority of the races.
Turner Motorsports could possibly field a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car later in the year, but that’s unlikely unless sponsorship is found. Oh, then there’s the Phoenix Racing team. It’s looking more likely that they’ll be running the full schedule, but they may lose out on a few races due to a lack of sponsorship.
The state of NASCAR is becoming more questionable each week. NASCAR had to change the amount of cars in the Nationwide Series’ starting line-up this year because of the amount of races where there weren’t 43 cars at the track. The sad part about that is, about five-10 of them will probably still start-and-park each week. The problem isn’t as bad in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but it could become a problem if some teams drop out even though the series will expand later in the year with younger drivers moving up through the NASCAR ranks.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.