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Decisions on future of Nationwide Series upcoming?

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

RICHMOND, Va. - For months, NASCAR has been kicking around ideas that may affect the eligibility of full-time Cup drivers to win the championship in stock car racing's Triple-A division.

Nationwide Insurance, the series sponsor, has been actively involved in the discussions. Jim Lyski, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Nationwide, met with NASCAR President Mike Helton on Friday at Richmond and offered that a resolution to the complicated issues facing the series should be expected soon.

"That's a question I think that NASCAR's really wrestling with, and they've been wrestling with it for a little while now," Lyski said. "We met with Mike Helton (Friday) and they're going to resolve that question once and for all here in a couple months. We're going to go with what the sport says.

"I believe it's coming to a head here. They're going to make the call one way or the other, and they're going to stick to it."

Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says no decision has been made.

"There are several scenarios that we're looking at right now," Balash said. "We've had a couple of new suggestions that kind of came up last week, and we're doing the research on those, but I don't think we have a definite answer on where we stand.

"At the end of the day, we don't want to exclude them (Cup drivers) from the mix. That's not something that we're looking to do. But we're looking at how you balance the experience level of a double-duty driver versus a full-time Nationwide driver."

NASCAR will hold rules meetings on the Nationwide Series next week, but Balash characterized those as dealing primarily with nuts and bolts issues related to the series' new racecar, which will be introduced into the series full-time next season, after a four-race rollout (including this weekend at Richmond) this year.