I am sure you’ve seen it in the news recently — NASCAR made changes to the new qualifying format that was introduced this year at Phoenix International Raceway.
This past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there were several near-disasters of wrecks all over the track during qualifying. Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick nearly ran over slower cars that were cooling their engines down.
The new rule modifications allow cars to take their cooling down process to pit road. I have even heard that two crew members will be allowed over the wall to assist the driver and car. Larry McReynolds had a lot to say about if safety played a role in NASCAR making the changes to the procedure:
“Safety probably was the main issue, but I think competition also played a role. Bristol is a half-mile track and we’d have 45 or 46 drivers on the first qualifying run, with some trying to cool their cars down by running slowly.”
I agree with McReynolds a whole lot here. If the procedure was not changed, knockout qualifying at Bristol would have been just that — with several cars getting hit as they attempted to cool down their cars down low as other cars passed up tops going the fastest they possibly could.
What NASCAR did with the exciting format was make it more safe for the drivers and make it more entertaining to watch. No more close calls. We will only see fast-paced track record-breaking laps during knockout qualifying at Bristol. I am absolutely looking forward to it, and you should too.