There are only 42 cars on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry list for Saturday night's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. This is the first time since September of 1996 at Dover that there have been less than 43 cars entered in a top-level NASCAR race. That day there were only 41 cars.
The last race that had less than 43 cars start was the season finale in 2001 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. That race was rescheduled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and one team originally entered had shut down their operations before the November 23rd finale.
It is a sign of the continued struggle teams are having in find proper sponsorship to fund full-time efforts in NASCAR. Multiple races this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series have had less than their 36 and 40 car maximums.
With the current "retooling" of the No. 77 Randy Humphrey Racing team there are currently only 42 cars entered at Kentucky. Also not at the track are the part-time efforts of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team, the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team, the No. 35 Front Row Motorsports team, and the No. 87 Indentity Ventures Racing team. Team Penske has not entered their No. 12 third car that Ryan Blaney and Juan Pablo Montoya will drive select races in this season either.
What it means is that for the first time since 2001 less than the maximum number of cars will be on track in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race unless a late entry comes along. It could be another bad sign for NASCAR to go with lower track attendance and lower TV ratings.
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