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Nascar Makes Changes to Qualifying

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The roar of the NASCAR engines is getting closer! And with the fast paced action comes some changes this year.

Qualifying will have a new feel this year as it moves away from the single entry style that we are all familiar with. Instead, group qualifying will set the starting grid for every race in all 3 series, with the exception of the Daytona 500.

Qualifying will have two different styles, depending on the length of the track. For tracks 1.25 miles or longer, there will be a 3 round qualifying format. Round 1 will give all entrants 25 minutes to post a qualifying time. The 24 entrants with the best lap times will advance to Round 2. The racers that do not advance will be placed based on their 1st Round times in descending order. Round 2 will give the 24 that advance 10 minutes to post a qualifying time. The 12 fastest cars will advance to Round 3. The 12 that do not advance will placed in spots 13-24 based on Round 2 lap times in descending order. In Round 3, the 12 cars will have 5 minutes to post a qualifying time. These times will be used to set the field for spots 1-12.

There will be a 5 minute break in between each round, and teams will be able to make adjustments during these breaks only. However, the teams cannot jack up the car or raise the hood. Once a car enters the garage, it will not be allowed back on the track for any more qualifying attempts.

The second style of qualifying will mirror the first except there will only be 2 Rounds. This style will be used at tracks under 1.25 miles. In the 1st Round, all entrants will have 30 minutes to post a qualifying time, and the 2nd Round will have the 12 fastest cars and 10 minutes to post a qualifying time. There will be a 10 minute break between the rounds.

Before qualifying, the cars or trucks will be lined up along pit road based on a random draw and may exit pit road at any time the green flag is out. Drivers can complete as few or as many laps as they would like during the time allotted for each Round.

It looks to increase the excitement of races and make qualifying more competitive, which is good for both the spot and the fans!

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