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Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Copart 200 via nascar-assets.americaneagle.com.
In an official release, NASCAR has reduced the number of weekly locked in trucks from 30 to 25. Beginning on February 12, the top 25 drivers will be locked into the race based upon 2009 owner points, 10 other drivers will have a chance to make the race via qualifying, and the 36th and final spot will be reserved for a past champion, if there is no past champion then it will be the next fastest qualifier.
This will be a departure from a 5 year rule where the top 30 drivers are locked into each week’s race. This move was made by NASCAR to strengthen the field and ensure the best trucks are on the race track as there were only 25 teams who raced in all 25 races in 2009.
It will also make it easier for new teams to make the races.
Here is the official press release:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2010) – NASCAR will revise its five-year-old procedure governing guaranteed starting positions for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2010. The revision will open up additional spots in the line-up for teams qualifying via time trials.
Under the procedure implemented in 2005, the top 30 eligible owners’ trucks were locked into the starting lineup and guaranteed a spot among the top 35 positions in the 36-truck field. Beginning with the Feb. 12 NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway, the "lock-in" will be reduced to the top 25 eligible owners who have entered the event based upon 2009 Owner Championship point standings.
The 36th and final position continues to be reserved for a past champion not otherwise qualified for the race. If no past champion is eligible, the position is filled by the next fastest qualifier.
The reduction in guaranteed starting positions brings the series in line percentage-wise with the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which guarantees a top 30 eligible owner’s car a position among 42 of 43 starting spots.
Twenty-five teams competed in all 25 races in 2009 and are thus eligible for guaranteed starting positions for the season’s first four races. Eligibility for the lock-in is set by 2010 Owner Championship points for the remainder of the season.
"All owners who would have been locked in under the previous procedure will have guaranteed starting positions at Daytona and for three additional races," said NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director Wayne Auton. "Teams which saw limited competition in 2009 or are new to the series will have greater opportunity to qualify for races than they might have had in the past – especially at short tracks such as Martinsville Speedway – where drivers who may not have a great deal of experience at the national series level are attempting to further their careers."
Red Horse Racing owner Tom DeLoach praised the move. DeLoach has a pair of teams locked into the field and the possibility of another with a rookie driver with zero points and no NASCAR experience.
"This is the thing to do," said DeLoach. "If I’m starting a team moving from five (open positions) to 10 you’ve doubled my chances. It’s absolutely the right thing to do. Let’s get out there and race.
"It strengthens the field and it should work well for the fans and the teams."
The revised procedure does not affect races in which qualifying is canceled. Starting fields in such instances are based upon a separate procedure dictated by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rule Book.