Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals How New NASCAR Restricts Drivers From Racing More

Published 10/13/2023, 1:19 PM EDT

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As NASCAR evolves, so do its rules and regulations. One such change that has sparked heated debates in recent times is the restrictions placed on Cup Series drivers competing in the Xfinity Series. Also, by limiting the participation of Cup drivers in lower-tier Xfinity races, NASCAR aims to level the playing field and give up-and-coming talents a fair shot. However, in a recent Twitter exchange between NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr and journalist Matt Weaver, a different perspective emerged.

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Dale Jr highlighted a key aspect of NASCAR that’s keeping Cup drivers from racing more in the lower series.

Dale Earnhardt Jr highlights the key factor that’s stopping even the eligible Cup drivers to not run in Xfinity


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‘Buschwhacking’ has long been a topic of debate in the NASCAR community. It provides an opportunity for fans to see their favorite Cup drivers in different settings. However, it can also overshadow the regular-season talents of the Xfinity Series, who are often left in the shadows.

In the past, it was not uncommon to witness 20 or more Cup Series drivers battling it out in the Xfinity Series races. However, over time, restrictions were introduced to prevent Cup drivers from dominating the lower series. The ultimate goal was to maintain a level of competition that showcases both established stars and budding talents.


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Recently, a conversation emerged on social media after journalist Matt Weaver shared old coverage footage of a Xfinity race. The video showcased the majority of drivers at the front of the grid being Cup Series stars. And so, this sparked a lively discussion, with Dale Earnhardt Jr joining the conversation.

Weaver, expressing a “love-hate relationship with Buschwhacking,” pondered whether limiting Cup drivers might have an impact on the Xfinity Series’ popularity. Matt wrote, “I have such a love-hate relationship with Buschwhacking. Less stars on Saturdays makes Xfinity less popular (-). But the series is almost 1990s-esque with its own identity again (+). Maybe raise limits a little, but keep playoffs exclusive. I want to see Cup guys in those cars.”

Dale Jr, however, shared a different perspective, stating, “There are plenty of cup drivers not running even a single race. The limits aren’t a factor imo.” He emphasized that raising the limits might not make a substantial difference, given that only a few drivers had reached eligibility in 2023.

As the conversation unfolded, motorsport journalist Alanis King also jumped in the conversation and asked an intriguing question to Dale Earnhardt Jr. She inquired about the impact of rotating drivers in a top-tier car on sponsorship. “I think this is fascinating. Actual q [question], since you can’t get the full-season continuity you did with Cup drivers in Xfinity a decade ago. Does rotating drivers in a top-tier car impact sponsorship, thus it’s easier to rotate between folks bringing their own sponsorship?”

Dale Jr provided valuable insight, emphasizing that sponsorship is the bread and butter of the sport, regardless of who the driver is. He explained, “Sponsorship drives nearly every decision. No matter the driver. But rotating drivers in a single car I think it’s more challenging for teams when looking at a season-long budget. Having one driver going for driver/owner points and such is preferable.”

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Looking at this interesting back and forth about bushwhacking, 2 seasoned Cup drivers decided to jump into the conversation to share their take on the matter.

Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin join the conversation


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The discussion caught the attention of Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Keselowski expressed his longing for more involvement, stating, “Can speak for only myself. I miss it. Would run 5 races, with a good full-time team.” However, he pointed out a significant challenge—the high cost of adding Saturday races to the schedule demands an annual budget of 5-7 million dollars. Sponsors of such magnitude often prefer to invest in Cup cars, creating a dilemma for the teams.

Denny Hamlin also shared his thoughts, highlighting the changing landscape. He mentioned, “Buschwhacking is gone. Xfinity teams need money from drivers now. They would choose that over a Cup driver that could potentially win 10 out of 10 times in 2023. If they have no funding, they will throw a Cup guy who’s willing to run.”


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So, what are your thoughts on the limitations placed on Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series? Share your opinions in the comments below.



Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh


One take at a time

Veerendra Vikram Singh is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. A Motorsport fan at heart, he has been following NASCAR and Formula 1 for over a decade now and has covered the on and off-track life of some of the best in the sport. He is a big fan of Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch but never lets that get in the way of authentic and fact-based reporting.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh




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