NASCAR qualifying, reckless or wise?

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What are your thoughts on NASCAR's qualifying format on super speedways? Reckless or wise?

This weekend marks the first real true test of the new qualifying format that NASCAR adopted for this season.

Last weekend in Daytona, the Nationwide series was the only series to attempt this open-wheel-esque way of qualifying, all due to a day plagued with rain delays.

While the idea of this knockout style of qualifying, open session stuff is a great idea, at say tracks like Phoenix, Bristol or Iowa, I think it is reckless to use this style on superspeedway style tracks.

During that first Nationwide session at Daytona, drivers got into packs of about 3-6 cars. All single file.

This makes sense because to go fast at Daytona, you need to draft.

Now, I am no engineer or aerodynamicist but for some reason these draft packs needed open road to make their single file draft beneficial.

Jeremy Clements
Jeremy Clements

Photo by: Covy Moore

At times, I saw a 4 car draft led by Dale Earnhardt Jr looking for clean air at 130 mph, with two other bigger packs passing them at full bore, about 190 mph, three wide through the tri-oval.

It just seemed dangerous to me. And at places like California, the bigger faster, non restrictor plate tracks, I feel it is wrong to risk all the competitors on track at the same time, under competitive conditions like that.

But, with that said, qualifying at Phoenix is the complete opposite. You might be able to pick up a tenth of two drafting, but the bonzai lap with some clean air likely will still be the fastest, thus having other cars on track is now a detriment and should make things interesting .

I feel that the format adopted will be great for tracks 1.5 miles and under. It will allow drivers to create rivalries from a whole new competitive session. Rubin’s Racin’ they say…but could you imagine a little on track contact during qualifying? That will create some serious rivalries and grudges.

I cannot offer a solution for the larger tracks however. I think a small mistake can become a costly error quickly at those style of tracks, and its unnecessary before a green flag falls on a race.

Time will tell. I know I am looking forward to qualifying this weekend in Phoenix!

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Commentary
Tags camping world, crash, daytona, earnhardt jr, handpick motorsports, nascar, nascar qualifying, nationwide, phoenix, phoenix international raceway, pir, reckless, winner