Xfinity Series dilemma: Banning Cup drivers isn't the answer

When people want to discuss what’s ‘wrong’ with NASCAR’s secondary division, the name Kyle Busch will inevitably come up.

It’s easy to place blame for lackluster races on the reigning Sprint Cup champion because he has won a staggering 80 NXS races, and more than a handful were done so in dominating fashion.

The Kyle Busch Show

In fact, he has four victories in just five appearances this season … Leading 776 of 913 laps he completed. That’s 84.9%! The only race he didn’t win? Well that was Fontana and he still finished second after riding on a blown left front tire for an entire lap. His obvious advantage has become an unsurprising (and mostly unwelcome) aspect for regular viewers of the series. 

Like it or not, these superstars of the sport bring much-needed sponsors with them when they double-dip. And beyond that, what better way for an up-and-comer to prove their ability and prepare themselves for the Cup Series than to race door-to-door with the best NASCAR has to offer?

The only issue is that the only time the regulars seem to be racing door-to-door with Kyle is when he’s lapping them.

Many are quick to say that he doesn’t belong and that it isn’t fair for Cup drivers to be messing around in lower levels, some likening it to taking candy from a baby. It’s true, the Sprint Cup juggernaut has won all six races to kick off the new season. However, few were left complaining when Chase Elliott won Daytona or when Austin Dillon took the checkereds in Cali (Both Cup drivers). And I think that goes beyond the fact that they aren’t Kyle … It’s because those finishes were actually exciting.

The problem with the Xfinity Series isn’t that Kyle Busch is winning. The problem is that he is dominating. Without a doubt, some will still be disenfranchised even if he were to win every race in a three-wide photo finish, but we can’t please everyone. I’m not focussing on Kyle, I’m focussing on the product.

Why is KB so dominant?

He isn’t racing amateurs, but he still wipes the floor with them each and every time he gets behind the wheel. And that my friends is because of the equipment. Let me take you back to 2012, a year where Busch ran 22 Xfinity races and didn’t win a single one. The team he was driving for? His own. He still scored nine top fives and led nearly 400 laps, so it wasn’t like he was uncompetitive, but the playing field had certainly been leveled out when he was no longer driving for Coach Gibbs.

The very next year, he returned to piloting JGR cars and added another 12 victories to his resume.

Just looking at this season, Gibbs has qualified 1-2-3 in the last five races straight. When you have a driver the caliber of Kyle, racing for a team the caliber of JGR, it quickly becomes apparent why he is so unstoppable. They are so far ahead of the rest, no other organization — even with Cup stars such as Harvick, Keselowski, Larson and Earnhardt at the helm — can compete with them on a regular basis.

Banning Kyle and other Cup drivers is the simple solution, but not an intelligent one. No, what the Xfinity Series needs is a little BoP (Balance of Performance). Something that pulls the reins back and gives the other guys an opportunity to at least put up a fight.

Handicapping Cup drivers

For example, British Touring Cars run three races per weekend and one of the ways they try to mix it up is by adding weight ballast to the frontrunners. It doesn’t preclude them from racing for the win, but it certainly handicaps them to the point where others will have a better shot and the possibility of a clean sweep is made much more difficult. There are several ways of doing this in the Xfinity Series, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is done to the car. For example, simply limiting the number of tires a double-dipper can use during any given race would be a simple, but likely effective way of spicing up the show. 

Now I believe in the natural ebb and flow of competition and would never propose something like this for Cup, but when the purpose of the Xfinity Series is to put the spotlight on the rising stars of NASCAR, I think it’s necessary. The only other viable option would be the restricting or complete banning of Cup stars and like I stated earlier, that would produce more cons than pros.

The bottom line is that the regulars aren’t going to win every race and they don’t need to, but they should at least be able to put up a fight.

Source link

Can't Get Enough SportsCoaster?

Sign up for SportsCoaster's newsletter and get the latest sports news straight to your inbox!