The 2020 NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series will feature new changes from the 2019 season in regards to Monster Energy Cup Series driver participation, field count, and bonuses. NASCAR announced the changes on Wednesday.
Cup driver participation
As NASCAR’s lower series of the three national leagues, the Xfinity and Truck Series have garnered criticism from fans for allowing Cup drivers to compete in their events. In response, NASCAR began to apply various limits such as allowing drivers to only race for one national series championship in 2011 and restricting the amount of races a Cup driver can run depending on their career at the top level.
For the 2020 season, Cup drivers with at least three full seasons in the premier series may only run five races each in the two lower tiers; although this limit is already in place in Trucks, the Xfinity total will decrease by two. Such drivers are also prohibited from racing in Xfinity and Truck playoff and monetary programme – Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash and Trucks’ Triple Truck Challenge – races.
“We’ve made small tweaks since then, and this is [the] third tweak, but the goal is to find a happy medium or that sweet spot where it works for all of our stakeholders,” NASCAR Senior Director of Racing Operations Meghan Miley said. “We hear from the fans that we need to get Cup drivers out of Xfinity and Trucks, and they want to just see the regulars, but we hear from the younger drivers that, ‘Hey, we want to race against these guys because they make us better.'”
Xfinity and Truck-specific changes
The Xfinity field will also be reduced from 38 to 36 cars in 2020, continuing a trend of decreasing grid numbers after going from 40 to 38 in 2019. The top 31 starting positions will be set on qualifying speed, with the final five being determined by four provisionals and a past champion’s provisional (PCP).
The Dash 4 Cash programme, a four-race series that allows Xfinity drivers to compete for monetary prizes, will return for 2020. While Bristol Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Dover International Speedway will remain D4C events, Richmond Raceway will be replaced by Texas Motor Speedway, while Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as a qualifying event.
In the Truck Series, the Triple Truck Challenge will return for a second year after débuting in 2019 with the same rewards as the Dash 4 Cash. After Texas, Iowa Speedway, and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway served as the 2019 Challenge races, Richmond, Dover, and Charlotte Motor Speedway will do so for 2020. Richmond is a new addition to the Truck Series schedule after last hosting the series in 2006.
As part of the new “Greg Biffle Rule”, the Challenge will also allow those who entered races past the entry deadline to continue running in Challenge races should they be eligible. The change was made after its namesake won at Texas in his first Truck race since 2004 but could not continue racing in the Iowa and Gateway events.