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Xfinity Qualifying: How Dawson Cram Made The Daytona Opener

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What’s Happening?

Before the weather crashed down onto Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity cars took to the high banks of the superspeedway to turn some qualifying laps. When it looked like the field for this evening’s Xfinity Series opening was set, David Starr in the No. 66 machine failed post-qualifying inspection. This opened the door for Dawson Cram to sneak into the field.

You Need To Know:

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  • The issue which disallowed Starr’s qualifying time, as reported by FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, had something to do with the trackbar “being split out of tolerance”. This disallowed his time and therefore booted him from the field.
  • David Starr’s misfortune turned into a great opportunity for the driver of the No. 4 Firman Power Equipment Chevy for JD Motorsports, Dawson Cram to make his Xfinity Series debut as he was bumped into the field.
  • The NASCAR Rulebook is under strict lock and key leaving many fans confused about how the whole qualifying procedure works. This led to some confusion about how exactly Starr got booted from the field and Cram sneaked in.

So, exactly how does this whole process work? Let’s break it down!

Qualifying Speed

The field in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is limited to 38 cars and with 40 or more attempting to make the field each week, this means that some drivers are bound to be bumped from the field. For positions 1-33, the starting order during qualifying is determined by the actual lap times the drivers turned during their qualifying attempts. This is the only sure-fire way to guarantee a starting spot in the race if a driver is driving a part-time entry or a car that finished low in owner points last season.

The Owner Points/Past Champion Rule

This is when things become a little bit tricky. For positions 34-37, whether or not a driver makes the race is determined by the owner points set the year before. The highest driver in last year’s owner points gets the 34th spot in the field, the next highest driver in owner points gets spot 35 and so on and so forth.

The 38th and final spot in the field is reserved for the most recent past Xfinity Series Champion who was unable, for whatever reason, to time their way in. If there is no driver fitting this description on the outside looking in, the 38th spot goes to the next driver highest in the previous year’s owner points.

For a more in-depth breakdown of how the qualifying process works in all three of NASCAR’s top series, read this article written by The Daily Downforce’s very own Joshua Lipowski:

How Inspection Saved Dawson Cram’s Weekend

When the qualifying session for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race was all said and done, Dawson Cram and his No. 4 Chevy were left on the outside looking in. For a while, it looked like they were headed home, their hopes of racing in the Xfinity Series opener squashed. But, as post-qualifying inspection commenced, a problem was immediately noticed with the No. 66’s trackbar. With this issue, David Starr’s time was disallowed and he was disqualified.

This turn in events left a one-spot opening for the field and, with the No. 4 Chevy being the next car in light based on the previous year’s owner points, Dawson Cram was able to slip into the field in the 38th and final transfer spot for the Xfinity Series opener.

In The Stands

For those who don’t know, the No. 66 car driven by David Starr is owned by Carl Long…who has an…interesting relationship with NASCAR. Fans weren’t shy about pointing that fact out, either.

Cowboy Racer criticizes NASCAR for picking on the smaller, under-funded teams.

Jon Iaccino says that Carl Long gets the “shaft” again.

Seb theorizes that the conspiracy in NASCAR against Carl Long is alive and well.


What do you make of the qualifying procedure, NASCAR fans? Do you like it? Do you think it makes sense? Is it overly complicated? Do you prefer this to the charter system on the Cup side? Be sure to let us know by giving us a shoutout on social media. In the meantime, keep tuning into for all the latest news and updates throughout this race weekend!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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