A new qualifying procedure has been announced for all three NASCAR series for 2014. Officially out Wednesday afternoon, the sessions will consist of multiple rounds and “knock outs.”
Two methods will be used at tracks. For tracks that measure 1.25 miles or longer, all vehicles will race around for 25 minutes. Then, after a five minute break, the fastest twenty-four cars will run for ten minutes. The top twelve cars proceed to compete for five minutes after another five-minute break. However, the system is different at venues that are less than 1.25 miles; all vehicles will run for 30 minutes. The twelve fastest cars will resume after a ten-minute intermission.
Vice President for Competition and Racing Development, Robin Pemberton, had this to say about the concept: “We believe the timing is right for a new qualifying format across our three national series. This style of group qualifying has all the makings of being highly competitive and more engaging to our fans in the stands and those watching on television and online. For the drivers and teams, we believe this new qualifying will fuel even greater competition leading into events. Additionally, it provides our tracks, broadcasters and other key partners with a greater opportunity to develop more entertaining content for our race weekends.”
The idea is similar to what the F1 and IndyCar racing series use for their sessions. This will enable qualifying to fit into an hour-long timeslot on TV. “Knockout” qualifying will be implemented after the Daytona 500. This also doesn’t apply to non-points races or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ race at Eldora, which determines starting order by heat races.
While the NASCAR world is still buzzing about the new rumored points system, discussion will now be fueled by the new qualifying procedure for 2014, which will definitely be a season to watch.