NASCAR not looking to expand four-car limit for teams

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NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday there are no plans to allow teams to have more than four full-time cars even in a time when one Sprint Cup race did not have a full 43-car field and 17 other races had only 43 cars attempt to qualify last year.

NASCAR instituted a four-car limit for the 2006 season, grandfathering teams that had more at that time until their sponsor contracts ended. NASCAR currently allows a fifth car but only to run seven races with a rookie driver. That rule will allow Hendrick Motorsports to run Chase Elliott in select Cup races this season.

France said during Monday’s opening portion of the NASCAR media tour that “we’re not looking to expand beyond the current four, but it’s true that we’d like to see the barrier of entry lower (for car owner) than higher.’’

France told reporters last July at Daytona that progress has “been slow” with creating more avenues for potential new owners.

Lowering that barrier to entry remains an item that France is concerned with accomplishing.

“Are we making things easier … for new teams to look at coming in and competing in NASCAR?’’ France said. “We want to have an open sport where you’ve got the ability to compete. We’re going to make it easy as reasonably possible.’’

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president & chief racing development officer, said the four-car rule has proved beneficial for the sport.

“It’s allowed some of the new owners to come in, the Furniture Rows of the world, the Michael Waltrip Racings of the world, Harry Scott,’’ O’Donnell said. “Everyone doesn’t come into the sport immediately and become a champion. It takes time. Some of those folks who come in and maybe finish from 30th to 43rd, it’s easy to point to them and say why should they be in the sport? Fast forward five years from now and that driver could be competing for a championship. We’re comfortable where it is today. We’ll always look at that, but we want to keep that option open to bring in new owners.’’