Nationwide field to shrink in 2013

Updated: October 16, 2012, 12:41 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The maximum field for the Nationwide Series will shrink from 43 to 40 cars in 2013, NASCAR announced Tuesday.

The Sprint Cup Series will remain at 43 cars, with the Truck Series remaining at 36.

The governing body also made official its new qualifying rule in which the 36 fastest cars will make the race on speed, followed by the next six highest-ranking cars in owner's points and one spot for the most recent eligible past champion.

It is a move away from the top-35 rule that was put in place in 2005, guaranteeing the top 35 in owner's points made the field.

"This is a big win for our fans," NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said in a release. "They'll see the fastest cars earn their starting spots."

The order of qualifying will move to a random draw instead of being based on practice times.

Provisional positions in the Cup and Nationwide series will be based on previous owner's points for the first three races instead of the first five, as it has been.

NASCAR also made it official that Cup organizations will be allowed to test at four sanctioned tracks, not including the preseason test at Daytona. Tests at sanctioned tracks have not been allowed since 2009 as a move to help teams save money.

Each organization can pick the track at which it plans to test.

Nationwide and Truck Series teams will be allowed two tests at sanctioned tracks.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter