Updated 11-15-2004

The 43rd and last starting position is the fifth provisional and will be available to a car owner who has a former NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion as his driver, if he has not otherwise qualified or if he does not make the field any other way. If no past champion has failed to qualify for the race then the 43rd spot goes to the next team in the owner points.(or NASCAR's decretion) If no former champion needs the spot, the 43rd position will be set using criteria from the event's entry blank, such as the next car owner in points who has not made the race as long as they have not used their allotment of provisionals.
The former champions provisional will be awarded in a manner that is similar to regular car owners provisionals. That is to say that each team with the current or former champion in the car will be issued four provisionals when they attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. Then, with every sixth qualifying attempt, the team with the current or former champion will be awarded one additional champion’s provisional. This would limit a team to a total of ten former champion’s provisionals. A team that features either the current champion or former champion will be limited to a total of ten provisionals in a single season. All provisionals are charged regardless of where the team is in the owners points standings.
There is only one former champion's provisional per race [the 43rd spot]. It goes to the most recent champion when two champions fail to qualify. NASCAR sets the field by issuing the first four provisionals, then checks to see if a past Cup champion needs to use a past Champ Provisional. If there are two past champs at that point, the most recent past champ gets the spot. If no past champ needs to use the provisional, it goes to the next team in the Owners Points.
Former NASCAR Winston Cup Champions still active on the circuit are (most recent): Matt Kenseth; Tony Stewart; Jeff Gordon; Bobby Labonte; Dale Jarrett; Terry Labonte; Rusty Wallace; and Bill Elliott [part time in the #91/#98]. This provisional is a DRIVER provisonal and goes with the driver when they leave a team.

NO Previous Champion Provisionals used in 2001
NO Previous Champion Provisionals used in 2002
NO Previous Champion Provisionals used in 2003

Standing Driver Team Year of Last
Points Pos
1 Matt Kenseth 17 2003 8 0 9 none
2 Tony Stewart 20 2002 6 0 9 none
3 Jeff Gordon 24 2001 2 0 8 none
4 Bobby Labonte 18 2000 13 0 9 none
5 Dale Jarrett 88 1999 14 0 98 none
6 Terry Labonte 5 1996 26 0 9 none
7 Rusty Wallace 2 1989 16 0 9 none
8 Bill Elliott 91/98 1988 49/66 0 2/0 none
Champion Provisonal's Only

In 1991 the "Past Champion's Provisional" was created, which allowed a car owner who had a former Winston Cup champion as his driver to take the 43rd starting position if his car had not otherwise qualified.

Why? Seven-time Winston Cup champion Richard Petty's failed to qualify for the spring 1989 race at Richmond.

From 1991-1994 the Past Champion's Provisional was available at all events, though it was only used a few times. with Petty was the only driver to use it in its first year [1991], taking advantage of it three times to make starting fields.

The Past Champion's Provisional was not used in 1992, Darrell Waltrip used it once in 1993 and it was cited five times in 1994: Three times by Bill Elliott, once by Waltrip and once by Terry Labonte.

In 1995 positions 1-38 on superspeedways were determined through time trials. Four provisional starting positions were now determined at all tracks primarily using the top-35 positions in the owners' standings. The option for a Past Champion's Provisional was available at the back of the respective fields.

In 1996, the superspeedway qualifying procedure was the same but the basic provisional eligibility was extended to the top-40 in owners' points and the Past Champion's Provisional was still an option.

1997 was also the last year in which the Past Champion's Provisional was an option to be used if needed. In 1998 there was a change in Past Champion's Provisional procedure that is maintained until the present. It called for positions 1-36 to be determined in time trials with seven provisionals to fill the field to 43 cars [now 1-38 and five provisionals].

Since 1998, the provisional system has undergone changes such as imposing a limit on the number of provisional starting positions that can be used; including the Past Champion's Provisional in that limit, which was not done in 1998, resulting in a public outcry when Waltrip used an exorbitant amount of them; and excluding teams in the top-25 in owners' points from having to count provisionals against their limit.(NASCAR.com)(5-31-2002)

Rules as of 2004: Four provisional starting spots are available for positions 39-42. These positions are based on the current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car OWNER points [first four races, the previous season points are used]. The 43rd and final starting position is available to any eligible past NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion who fails to make the field through qualifying, starting with the most recent champion who participated in the previous season as a driver. If there are no eligible past champions, the 43rd spot will be filled through current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car OWNER points, with the team highest in the OWNER points, not in the field, getting the spot.

2003 Past Champion Provisional Info Page
2002 Past Champion Provisional Info Page
2001 Past Champion Provisional Info Page
2000 Past Champion Provisional Info Page
1999 Champion Provisional Info Page
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