Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - NASCAR announced a radical change to
its qualifying format for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck
Series on Wednesday, making it similar to knockout qualifying used for Formula
One and IndyCar Series road/street course races.
At NASCAR racetracks measuring 1.25 miles or longer in length, qualifying will
consist of three rounds. Tracks measuring less than 1.25 miles will feature
just two segments.
NASCAR noted its revised qualifying format will not be used for the Daytona
500 (Feb. 23) and the Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway (July 23), which is
the only national touring series event contested on a dirt track. It also
won't be used for the Sprint Cup non-point races -- the Feb. 15 Sprint
Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway and the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-
Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"We're looking forward to the new qualifying format for all three of our
national series this year," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin
Pemberton said during a teleconference. "The new format is something that
we've been looking at for quite some time. The goal is providing a more fan-
friendly and exciting qualifying session for each race event across the board,
with the exception of the Daytona 500 and Eldora, which are unique in their
"NASCAR fans will be treated to highly competitive elimination-based
qualifying segments that will be more engaging to the fans in the stands and
those watching on television or online."
For those races on tracks 1.25 miles or greater, the first qualifying
elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars/trucks.
The 24 entries that post the fastest single lap from the opening segment will
advance to the second round. The remaining cars/trucks will be sorted from
their times in descending order posted during the first segment.
The 12 cars/trucks that recorded the quickest single lap during the second
round, which is 10 minutes in length, will then advance to the third and final
segment, which lasts five minutes. Positions 13 through 24 will be based on
lap times during the second round.
Positions 1 through 12 will be determined during the final round, with the
driver posting the fastest lap winning the pole position.
There will be a five-minute break between each of the three qualifying rounds.
For those tracks shorter than 1.25 miles, the opening segment in qualifying
will be 30 minutes in duration and includes all entries. The 12 cars/trucks
that recorded the fastest single lap time will advance to the second segment.
The remaining field will be determined by lap times in descending order during
the first round. Positions 1 through 12 will then be decided in the final
segment, which is 10 minutes in length.
"We believe the timing is right for this new style of qualifying, and for our
drivers and teams, we believe that it will create even better competition
leading into the event," Pemberton said.
NASCAR's new format is scheduled to be used for the first time on Feb. 21 when
the Nationwide and Truck Series have qualifying for their season-openers at
Daytona. Sprint Cup will utilize the format beginning with the March 2 race at
Phoenix International Raceway.
The Sports Network