Last week, NASCAR discussed with the media about possible changes to qualifying sessions from here on out starting with the 2014 season. Even though NASCAR has decided that other tracks will qualify in groups, I have heard others in water cooler talk think that using groups at restrictor plates is a good idea. I don’t buy that.
The idea is for single-file qualifying sessions to end specifically at Daytona and Talladega, and make cars drive in groups to draft together for 60 minutes.
In theory, it looks like a cool idea, but it is really a bad idea. Look, Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and World Truck Series equipment are not cheap. They are very expensive. This scenario increases more potential wrecks to happen on the track, and we know how dangerous wrecks can be at restrictor-plate tracks as shown in the picture above.
Specifically in the Sprint Cup, cars are sensitive. We don’t need to see teams repair their cars on a consistent basis because someone keeps getting into their back bumper. The brand new gen-six cars in the Sprint Cup are more anti-drafting than anything else. It’s not what it used to be with the gen-five cars, because the gen-five cars invite drafting, and the back bumper wasn’t as sensitive as the gen-six cars out today.
Also, when you are make cars drive in groups on the track, you increase the chances of engine failure as the water temperature can go up, as well as the negative impact of dirty air can have on the car, as well.
Keep the cars, and the drivers safe. NASCAR already makes drivers drive in groups at road courses such as Watkins Glen and Sonoma, for example, but those are road courses. The distance between cars in road courses in qualifying is reasonable, because there is no drafting.