Over the last few weeks, several events have brought new eyes to NASCAR. However, I’ve noticed a lot of people have questions regarding how NASCAR’s top three national series work. Which is understandable. To a new fan it’s hard to discern the whether these are feeder series for sure or rather a lesser series for competitors unable to secure a cup ride. If you’re one of those fans then you are in luck! My 23 years of sitting on the couch and watching cars go in ovals makes me what some may refer to as an expert. Without further ado, allow me to explain how the three series work together as well as the influence these series have on drivers. It’s a lot simpler than you would think.
NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series
The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) is the lowest of the three national series. Don’t let that fool you. This series is comparable to NCAA Division III sports in that it doesn’t have the shine of the higher levels. Although, the talent is definitely there, but only a few drivers are in rides that can consistently compete for wins. These teams are usually closely affiliated with a manufacturer or NASCAR team/driver. Younger drivers can get experience to prepare for the rest of their careers in these rides. However, older guys aren’t exempt from running. In fact, Matt Crafton was filing for social security before most of his competitors were even born. However, that didn’t stop him from winning the championship last year and improving his 401k. Essentially, this is a developmental series, but savvy veterans can still compete for championships before riding off into the sunset to a Daytona retirement community.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
The real premier series in NASCAR is the Xfinity Series (NXS). Ask any die hard fan and they’ll tell you the exact same thing in so many words. Comparable in almost every way to the Cup series, yet so much more entertaining. Many of these drivers have some Cup experience or are rising stars working to that point. Like the Truck Series, this series isn’t restricted to the young guns. Jeff Green still runs races occasionally and he was around when tobacco companies were still allowed to sponsor the sport. If that isn’t an anachronism i’m not sure what is. Especially when he’s racing with guys like Harrison Burton who haven’t grown a single mustache hair yet. This is why the series is so spectacular. You have established names racing against the next generation of NASCAR stars. On top of that, you have the best aero package of the three National Series as well. The point? If you are only going to watch one race in a weekend, I’d suggest its an Xfinity race.
NASCAR Cup Series
Fianlly, you have the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS). “The Show” or “Big Leagues” of stock car racing. This series is pretty self explanatory. The best drivers get the best rides and everyone else scraps for the remaining seats every year. While the talent level is highest here, the aero package leaves a lot to be desired. Most fans on Twitter are believers in “big motor, smol blade” which debuted this year on short tracks. Is this belief influenced by nostalgia from 90’s-early 2000’s NASCAR? Most likely it is, but that doesn’t invalidate the argument. I understand safety changes have affected how the officiating body views racing. Although, these drivers aren’t soft. Anyone who has ever strapped into a stock car accepts the risk. So if the fans and drivers want big motor smol blade, then dammit we deserve it. However, in the meantime we can still enjoy heroes from those nostalgic years race for titles against our favorite newcomers. That’s not a bad consolation if you ask me.
So here’s the TL;DR of my evaluation
- NGROTS: Developmental, but a fan favorite that acts as a crossroads for new and old drivers.
- NXS: The best car package of all three series and deep talent pool of rising stars
- NCS: We watch it because “Raise Hell, Praise Dale” isn’t just a phrase, its a lifestyle. Yet, the aero package could be greatly improved.
Personally, the Xfinity series is what does it for me and the truck series is a close second. Yes, I am one of those guys who hates on the Cup series for it’s short comings in the aero department. That doesn’t mean I won’t watch the races though. At the end of the day, if you like racing you will enjoy all three series. Keep in mind although talent is most plentiful at the top series, the other two can also produce action worth cracking a beer or twelve to while watching. Oh, and Kyle Busch has dominated all three of these series for the last decade plus. Just putting that out there to incite the Busch haters.