DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Thursday announced a new qualifying procedure for its three national touring series: Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks.

Per the procedure, a certain number of owners in each series will be guaranteed starting positions in their respective race fields based on owners' championship points, and all other entries will try for the remaining positions based on qualifying speeds.

In the Nextel Cup Series, the top 35 owners in the point standings will be guaranteed starting positions somewhere within the top 42 positions in the 43-car field, based on their qualifying speeds. The other seven starters among the top 42 will line up based on their qualifying speed.

In the Busch Series, the top 30 owners in the point standings will be guaranteed starting positions somewhere within the top 42 positions in the 43-car field, based on their qualifying speeds. The other 12 starters among the top 42 will line up based on their qualifying speed.

In the Craftsman Truck Series, the top 30 owners in the point standings will be guaranteed starting positions somewhere within the top 35 positions of the 36-truck field, based on their qualifying speeds. The other five starters among the top 35 will line up based on their qualifying speed.

Cars and trucks in either the top 35 or top 30 positions -- depending on the series -- and others will be interspersed throughout the field, based on their qualifying speeds.

For example, a car owner who is making his first appearance at the 2005 Daytona 500 could win the pole position if his driver posts the fastest speed in Bud Pole Qualifying.

The final starting position -- the "champion's provisional" -- can be utilized by a car or truck owner whose driver is a current or past series champion who participated as a driver during the respective series' 2004 season and was entered in the event for that owner in that car or truck prior to the entry deadline.

If there is more than one series champion vying for the position, it will be given to the most recent series champion. If no past champions are in that position, the next eligible car or truck owner according to qualifying results will make the field.

Teams will no longer accrue "provisional starting positions" throughout the season to gain entry into starting fields for any of the three series.

The new systems assure the highest-ranked positions in the respective series' owner championship points a starting position provided they have entered the event prior to the entry deadline and have made an attempt to qualify.

Through the first five races of the 2005 season, 2004 owner championship points will be used to determine the top 35 in the Cup Series and the top 30 in Busch Series. From the sixth race on, the current owner championship points will be used to determine the top positions each race week in the respective series.

Through the first four races of the 2005 Craftsman Truck Series season, 2004 owner championship points will be used to determine the top 30. From the fifth race on the current owner championship points will be used to determine the top positions each race week.

In the event that conditions prevent qualifying from being run, starting positions will be assigned according to the respective series' 2005 rule book.
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