NASCAR Revamps Qualifying Format

Article Written By: Chris Caraveo

Robert Laberge/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

Robert Laberge/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

NASCAR announced a brand new qualifying system Wednesday in an attempt to create a more appealing experience for everyone involved, especially fans who come to the track to watch the session. Instead of seeing one car make left turns for two laps, fans will get to watch multiple cars at the same time as a result of the new NASCAR qualifying format.

“Heck, I’m all for anything that makes it fun not only (for) the fans but the drivers and teams, too,” said driver Clint Bowyer of Michael Waltrip Racing, via Fox Sports. “This is really going shake things up on Fridays — in a good way. I’m all for it. It’s time we go out and get the 5-hour Energy Toyota a darn pole.”

The top three series in NASCAR, Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck, will adhere to the system.

Here is a quick rundown of the new format:

Tracks 1.25 miles or greater

– All cars will have 25 minutes to log in at least one lap. The 24 fastest cars advance to the second round. Drivers not advancing will fill positions 25-43.

– The 24 cars in the second round will have 10 minutes to record a lap time. The top 12 will advance to the final round. Positions 13-24 are filled by the remaining cars.

– The 12 cars in the final round will complete the starting lineup with a five-minute session.

Tracks less than 1.25 miles

– Unlike at tracks 1.25 miles or greater, the second round will not be in effect. The first round will go for 30 minutes, and the 12 fastest drivers will advance to the final round.

– They will then have 10 minutes in the final round to run at least one timed lap.

Fortunately the Daytona 500 qualifying format will not be changed. There will still be regular qualifying and the two Duels will take place.

Also, non-points races will not be affected by the changes. This is good news for the All-Star Race in Charlotte, which already has its own unique qualifying rules.

The new style goes beyond what the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series had used previously for road-course qualifying. Instead of having separate groups running laps all cars will have simultaneous access to the track.

It will be interesting to see what teams do during each round. They will most likely be concerned with spacing and could devise plans–especially in the 25 or 30 minute first round–of when they will send their cars out.

The season has yet to begin but these changes have already brought excitement and anticipation for some racing.

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