Thrilling time trials

Carl Edwards has experience drafting for position at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying format has been an unqualified hit with spectators this season, but time trails next weekend at Talladega—the first thus far in the draft at a restrictor-plate race track—promises to amplify the excitement of the new system.

Carl Edwards has experience drafting for position at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Anticipating rain during scheduled qualifying at last year’s spring race, he posted the fastest lap he could during drafting practice and started on the pole, with the field ordered according to practice speeds.

Next weekend, every driver in the field will have to use that approach, and for those who make it to the final round, it won’t be once, but three times.

”If I weren’t in it, I’d be tuned in to watch, because it will be entertainment,” Edwards said. “(Last year) we knew it was going to rain qualifying out, so everyone was trying to post the fastest time, and it was insanity. We ended up on the pole, which was great, but we almost wrecked the race car."

“(Crew chief) Jimmy (Fennig) and I were talking about that… but then he pointed out the fact that we’ll have three rounds of it. I have a feeling that it might be more dangerous than the race from a tearing-the-race-cars-up standpoint.”

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Analysis
Tags carl edwards, nascar-cup, richmond