NEW YORK (Dec. 7, 2000) The practice of second-round qualifying at NASCAR Winston Cup Series races is going the way of the dinosaur.
The entire 43-car field for races will be set during just one round of time trials starting in 2001, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced Thursday.
The sanctioning body is making the change because fewer and fewer teams were opting in recent years to take part in second-round qualifying after failing to lock in one of the top-25 starting spots available in Bud Pole Qualifying, Helton said. Eliminating second-round qualifying should make race weekends more efficient, he said.
"There's not a lot of activity around second-round qualifying any more," he said. "So it was that, in part. It's also to streamline things to be more prepared for race day."
The lone exception to the new qualifying rule will be at the season-opening Daytona 500, where time trials to determine the two front-row starters will continue to be backed up by the Gatorade 125s, a pair of sprints held to fill in starting spots 3-43. -nascar.com-