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Why does NASCAR start 43 cars?

Discussion in 'St. Louis Area Auto Racing Discussion' started by Qtrmileracer, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Qtrmileracer

    Qtrmileracer New Member

    Why / how did they arrive at that number of cars to start a race? Why not 42 or 45,etc?
    Anybody know the answer.........

  2. Somebody might know better than me, but I believe it is a tribute to Richard Petty.
  3. Eileen

    Eileen Member

    I don't know if this applies to NASCAR or not......

    However, some sanctioning bodies calculate the number of starters based on the size of the track they are running......so the number of starters would vary from track to track over a season.
  4. Motorhead

    Motorhead www.workmonster.com

    Pulled this from Insider Racing News, sounds reasonable:

    "Question...Why do 43 cars start a NASCAR race? What is the significance of 43?

    Answer...NASCAR started playing with the size of the fields five or six years ago. Different tracks used to start different amounts of cars in each race depending mainly on how many pit stalls the track had available to use. NASCAR wanted to standardize the size of the fields and after some trial and error, settled on a field consisting of 36 qualifiers with six provisionals that could be used by the regular drivers. That's a total of 42 cars.

    The story about the odd car, the 43rd starter, began about twelve years ago when Richard Petty was having trouble making the starting lineup. NASCAR created a Champions Provisional to help get Petty into the field. In fact it could be used to help any present or ex-champion but just recently was used for other drivers, if a Champions Provisional wasn't used. It goes to the car owner with the highest points that didn't qualify on speed.

    NASCAR was happy with the standardization and stuck with that number even though some drivers had to share pit stalls at some tracks before they were brought up to the present standards. They could run more at some tracks and they probably should run fewer cars at others, but it's a standard 43 cars now and I don't see that ever changing. "
  5. Eileen

    Eileen Member

    I did a quick online search of the SCCA "GCR" (General Competition Rules) book.

    Page 11....

    3.4.2 Number of Cars Allowed on the Course

    A. The maximum number of cars that may be started simultaneously on any course shall be twenty-five (25) per mile.

    B. The maximum number of cars that may occupy a course in practice, qualifying, or a race shall not exceed twenty-five (25) per mile, and then only if an extreme speed differential does not exist between the fastest and slowest cars.

    C. Only the Executive Steward of the Division may authorize an incease in this number or may require a decrease for any or all car classes.

    The number of cars on the track.......just another one of the countless details involved in putting on an event.
  6. Qtrmileracer

    Qtrmileracer New Member

    Thanks for the info.....that makes sense.I wondered if Richard Petty had any significance, but I guess it's a coincidence that it's #43
  7. Eileen

    Eileen Member

    I liked your question.....found it fascinating.....and it got me thinking.

    So I decided to just randomly pick another sanctioning body and check their online rules. I picked USAC. I couldn't find the answer in their online rule book so I called their offices.

    For USAC it is pretty much a "promoter request". Their sprint and midget divisions (because the tracks are generally smaller) are 22 car fields (a promoter can add more starters and thus pay more purse money). The Silver Crown series (because the tracks are larger) are generally 30 car fields.

    Obviously there are a variety of reasons that determine the number of starters.

    Does UMP have a rule regarding the number of starters?
  8. jpugh

    jpugh Well-Known Member

    There is no rule for UMP. The number of cars that start the feature are up to the tracks running under UMP. It varies around here from 18 at most tracks to a high of 24 at I-55 Raceway. The purse is what causes this. The more cars to pay the higher the purse must be. Those tracks that can afford to pay more cars will increase the purse and the number of cars that start. Of course, the number of cars that sign in each night will cause the starting number.

    It looks like Belle Clair will be starting 20 this year, while Tri-City has increased to 22.
  9. Motorhead

    Motorhead www.workmonster.com

    At the end of May, Kentucky Speedway is having a 150 mile, $10,000 to win race for Sportsman cars... 300 cars will start !! Frank Kimmel is promoting it:


    I have a tape of a race from back in the early '50s, the NASCAR "Race of Champions" where all the various track champions raced at the season's end. It was on a mile-long dirt track. I don't know how many they started, but the pole sitter was lapping the tail-enders on the back straight, on his first lap, while they had not yet taken the green!
  10. sam69

    sam69 New Member

    its not for sportsman its for a steel body street stock
  11. Hell, for 10K I might enter my wife's car :)
  12. Brandon Paul

    Brandon Paul Free agent score guy

    Given that some tracks struggle to get enough entries for two solid heat races, you know things are going OK for a track when enough drivers sign in that expanding the feature field size is even an option.
  13. Eileen

    Eileen Member

    Can you imagine what scoring a 150 mile race is like.......especially with 300 starters?
  14. craterracer

    craterracer New Member

    I dont wanna change the subject here, but isn't this why the sportsman class is in such trouble? No 2 tracks have the same rules?
  15. Brandon Paul

    Brandon Paul Free agent score guy

    Re-lining the field after yellows would also be quite an undertaking.:eek:
  16. Motorhead

    Motorhead www.workmonster.com

    I would agree with that. To me, an old-timer, Street Stocks are street cars that are raced. They have street tires and full running gear, and possess all the equipment needed to be licensed for the street. Sportsman cars, on the other hand, are race cars that use stock components. They use racing tires, the bodies can and are modified somewhat, and they use racing setups with some stock components. They do not have glass, lights, horns, or turn signals. These cars fit that description. If you think you can take a Street stock to Kimmel's race and be competitive, you are in for a rude awakening. Look at the size of the wickerbill needed to keep them at 120mph! Theoretically, these can be tube-frame cars with stock suspension components!

    We race at some of those southern pavement tracks, and the classes are generally one-up in preparation and seriousness than they are around the dirt tracks here. Now, part of that is the old adage "With a dirt car, you work all week to make it back on the track...with a pavement car, you work all week to make it better"! But they do seem to be about a half-class to a full class difference. Their "street stocks" would be close to a 'sportsman" car here. It's an evolutionary thing. I found a TCS program from 1978 the other day, and wow...the "late Models" had steel bodies, stock frames, and ...bumpers! The sportsman, however, were much more professional-looking than they are today.

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