By Colby Evans
Start and park teams seem to be a thing of the past in NASCAR’s top touring series.
The practice took prevalence throughout the 2000s and 2010s in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series, where teams would intentionally fall out of races early by having their driver(s) start the race, run laps, and park the racecar after driving a few laps.
The practice was thought to save teams money by not putting wear-and-tear on equipment and teams not having to purchase multiple sets of tires to run a fully-scheduled racing distance.
In the Cup Series especially, with the addition of the current charter system in 2016, one of the stipulations was that no chartered team could start and park and participate in all sanctioned races.
While the Cup Series has not seen starting and parking in years, the practice continued in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series as far as the end of 2021. But in 2022, we’ve yet to see a start and park entry in either of the Xfinity and Truck Series.
With the Xfinity Series averaging 40 entries per race for 38 spots, cars and the Truck Series averaging 38 entries for 36 sports, per race this season, there is now no need for field-filler start-and-park entries.
However, with the current real world issues, these fields could start to dwindle and the possibility of the start and parks coming back could happen.
But is it really worth it? While the real-world issues may hurt the full-time entries, is it really worth putting in the effort for little profit in the end due to lower purse money?
Although the purse money hasn’t been released to the public since 2015, some reports of last-place finish earnings have surfaced online with those finishing positions in the Truck Series ranging from $6,500-7,500 and Xfinity last-place finishers ranging from $9,500-$10,000.
While it’s either for a quick, cash grab or to fill up the allotted field size, a start-and-park entry could show up on a race list anytime, until NASCAR officially puts a stop to it.
Start and parking will forever be ingrained in NASCAR history, even if it is history NASCAR would rather be forgotten.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.