WIth less than a month until the start of the 2014 NASCAR season, some new changes will be heading in the way of all of NASCAR’s three touring Series.
On Wednesday, NASCAR announced new changes in the qualifying format for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Trucks Series. Starting in the 2014 season, qualifying will be broken down into three segments, changing qualifying into a new knockout system.
Within the new qualifying procedures on tracks 1.25 or larger, qualifying will be broken down into three segments. In a first qualifying segment, all cars will go on track for 25 minutes, and the fastest 24 cars go onto the second segment. Each car will be lined up by their times from the first segment.
In the second segment, an elimination system will be in place and cars will have 10 minutes to post their times and speeds. Only 12 cars will go into the third segment for five minutes and the fastest time posted wins the pole award.
On tracks smaller than 1.25 miles, qualifying will consist of two segments. Only 12 cars will go into the second and last segment.
The new changes to qualifying will not be enforced at the Daytona 500, in non-points Sprint Cup races and the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series race at Eldora Speedway.
In the past, drivers would go out and post their qualifying lap or two lap run, with the qualifying session lineup set up by speeds posted in practice.
During the 2013 season, the Cup Series made changes to it’s road course race qualifying procedures. During the races at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International, drivers qualified in groups. Each group went out for a significant amount of time and the driver’s best speed would set up the race lineup.
With the decision to make changes to the qualifying sessions within the three touring Series, it would be just one of the few changes being considered by NASCAR before the start of the season. It will allow fans and teams alike to find some excitement in qualifying. It will also add more emphasis into qualifying for each race.