By admin | July 30, 2010
By Richard Allen
This weekend’s Camping World Truck Series race will feature a different qualifying system. Instead of the typical one at a time format, the trucks will go out two at a time. This system is one NASCAR ought to consider making use of more often in all its divisions.
I have attended many races this year and of those, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, the World of Outlaws Late Models and the Southern All Stars each have implemented the multiple car qualifying method.
On dirt tracks the primary reason for doing such a thing is time. With several classes running in one night, doing things like putting more than one car at a time on the track for qualifying makes the best use of time.
In NASCAR, that same consideration is one to think about. Almost every track on the schedule hosts another race of some kind during its Sprint Cup weekend. With track time for practice and qualifying often limited, especially on tracks with no lights, anything to save a few minutes is worth implementing.
Another reason to consider using this type system is that is lessens the amount of time used during a qualifying session, which means there would be less time for the track to undergo changes. Friday’s Sprint Cup qualifying session in Pocono lasted from roughly 3:30 to 5:15. In such a time span a track can change drastically as shadows from billboards and grandstands creep across the racing surface during the late evening. Also, in such a long period of time, cloud cover, wind speed and direction and humidity can make significant changes.
The shorter the time period for qualifying, the fewer changes that can occur, which would be more fair for everyone.
Obviously, there are a few potential issues with such a system. No doubt, drivers would complain about dirty air. Or, some might attempt to time it in such a way as to gain an advantage from the car in front. And, what happens if one driver is on a particularly fast run and the other driver on track spins out?
I will say this, of the different series’ I have seen use this qualifying format this year, there have been very few times in which there was a problem.
The shortened time created by putting more than one car on track at a time for qualifying could offer a number of benefits to tracks, competitors and NASCAR. This is something they should consider using more often in all divisions.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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