NASCAR dumps top 35 rule, cuts Nationwide field

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR has announced competition changes for 2013, including the elimination of the top 35 qualifying rule and a reduction of the field size in the Nationwide Series.

Starting next season, the top 35 cars in owners' points will no longer be guaranteed a spot in the Sprint Cup field. NASCAR will use a 36-6-1 format in which the fastest 36 cars make the race on speed.

The next six highest ranking cars in owners points not already qualified then earn a starting spot, followed by the most recent eligible past champion driver.

In the Nationwide Series, NASCAR will only allow a maximum of 40 cars to race each week instead of 43. The change is to create a sense of urgency among teams to make races.

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