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New Qualifying System Adds Intrigue and Excitement

By admin | March 2, 2014

 Knockout qualifying adds excitement.

By Richard Allen

I often use this site to criticize NASCAR for things I believe they are doing wrong, and there seems to be plenty of opportunity for such of late. And when the sanctioning body does something well, I try to give credit where credit is due.

All that said, I will offer praise for the new qualifying system put in place this season. After years of sending cars out one at a time, NASCAR has opted to employ a “knockout” style of time-trials in which all cars can potentially be on track at the same time within an allotted amount of time. Drivers can make as many runs as they choose within that time frame.

Although I will add that it is silly of NASCAR to say that they are not copying Formula 1, which is obviously where the idea for this system came from.

Depending on the size of the track, there will either be two or three sessions with eliminations taking place at the end of each round.

The fun part is watching as drivers move up and down the scoring chart as they go out and make additional runs then get bested by other drivers. Also, strategy comes into play as teams work to get their car on the track at the best possible time to gain advantage from cloud cover or an empty space on the track.

And as will always be the case, those who participate have thought of ways to manipulate the system. Crews have begun to send their cars out for slow runs around the apron of the track with tape removed from the grille to cool the engine in preparation for another attempt.

After years of going to dirt tracks and being held hostage while class after class goes out for one at a time runs, it is refreshing to see something different being done to actually make the process more entertaining. This will make those long sessions at places like Pocono and Michigan much more watchable this season.

So, kudos to NASCAR for bringing intrigue and excitement to something that had grown quite stale. But just so you don’t get too full of yourselves, I still don’t like your new way of determining a champion.

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4 Responses to “New Qualifying System Adds Intrigue and Excitement”

  1. Russ Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Anything would be better than the old way. Hopefully they will tighten up on the attempted manipulation of the rules. After all, qualifying isn’t about setting a new track record every week. Rather its about how fast the cars are relative to each other.
    If they want to copy F1, then impound the top 10 after qualifying. That will end the tape/overheating issue immediately.

  2. John Cooke Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 10:28 am

    We’re usually on the same page Rich, but on this I have to disagree. I didn’t see a lot to it. On the overheating complaints, just do away with the tape. It will be the same for everyone. Saturday, I went to our local short track [Southern National] and watched their group qualifying. Five or six cars at a time go out for 5 laps. The cars were all space out and no one was in the way. It was much more entertaining. NASCAR could do the same and then, let the fastest ten go out again in groups of five for the final rundown.

  3. Bill B Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I agree. Actually, unlike most of the other changes that were announced in the off-season, I thought this one was a good one before I saw how it worked.
    They do need to do something about cars that are out there just trying to cool their engines.
    Either allow them to use some means to cool them down or make a rule where there are a maximum number of laps you can run during each session.

  4. Chris Fiegler Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I Wonder if the New NASCAR Qualifying will also in the Indy Car Series in 2014 not Just on Road Courses. I Think that this is a Great Idea I Do Not Like to see 49 or 48 Different Cars one at a time & Maybe Qualifying will be Shorter.