The troubling side of NASCAR's changes to Truck qualifying

On Monday, NASCAR made some tweaks to the Camping World Truck Series' guaranteed qualifying positions, reducing the number of locked-in spots from 30 to 25.

On the surface, this really isn't that big of a deal, as only 25 trucks would have been eligible to be locked in for Daytona anyway. However, it reflects the stark reality that the Truck Series is on pretty tenuous footing.

To be eligible for a guaranteed starting position for the first five races of a season, a team -- or the team that a team purchased the owner's points from -- has to have attempted every race the previous season. The #8 truck owned by Dave Malcomson (and driven by Dennis Setzer) finished 21st in the 2009 owner points but attempted 18 of the 25 races, and therefore wouldn't have been eligible anyway.

But given the fragile state of the Truck Series in the current economic climate, there's no guarantee that all 25 of the eligible trucks will be attempting Daytona despite some points swaps.

Kyle Busch's new truck will have the owner points from the #16 truck (driven by Brian Scott last year) and Jennifer Jo Cobb will be driving the #10 truck for her own team this year. Last year, the #10 was a teammate to Rick Crawford. Ricky Carmichael will be in the #4 Monster Energy truck again this year, but this time for Turner Motorsports, presumably using the owner's points from Kevin Harvick Inc.

On the other hand, Jack Roush won't be fielding a truck this season, and it's unknown if HT Motorsports will be returing for 2010 after fielding trucks for Terry Cook and David Starr last year.

In all likelihood, only 18 to 20 trucks will be locked in for Daytona, making the NextEra Energy 250 a prime opportunity for start-up teams to get in to the field. But that's not necessarily going to make for better racing, because NASCAR's current purse structure in the Truck Series doesn't make racing the distance very lucrative for teams operating on a shoestring budget.

NASCAR Revises Qualifying Rules [SpeedTV]