NASCAR has done the right thing in forcing drivers to designate which series championship they will race for. That said, this new rule will be as impactful as using a marble as a wrecking ball.
You want a farce of a champion? Here you go.
Kyle Busch is going to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 Nationwide Series races in 2011. Joey Logano will win about half that many. And Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski will rack up hundreds of more points than everyone else.
None will be your champion.
Instead, it will be the fourth- or fifth-best driver declaring, "I'm No. 1!"
Uhh, not really.
This has all the feel of those newfangled PC little leagues where no scores are kept and everyone gets a trophy. While it may look good on the mantle, the "accomplishment" is as hollow as The Situation's fame, completely manufactured and not based on any sort of exceptionalism, and fans will see right through it.
Back in November when he hinted that this change was coming, Brian France said "[we] want to make sure the Nationwide Series is, you know, helping us find stars that stay there for a little while, earn their stripes and move up."
Banning Cup regulars from competing in the Nationwide Series altogether was not an option. Track promoters and television broadcasters depend on the big names to attract attention. So really NASCAR had no other option. But that doesn't mean this is going to fix the issue at hand which is the lack of "stars" being bred in the Nationwide Series.
If the curve says a 75 is an A, you get an A, but you're still a C-level student. Likewise, now if you win a Nationwide Series title you are a champion, but you're not necessarily a championship-caliber driver.
If Aric Almirola or Justin Allgaier or Brian Scott are to become stars – if they're going to attract the attention of Cup owners – it won't be because they won a Nationwide championship. It'll be because of something more tangible, like beating Busch, Edwards, Keselowski and the like. Until that happens, it'll be status quo on Saturdays.