NASCAR changes qualifying format for Daytona, Talladega

Daytona Beach, FL ( – Qualifying for NASCAR national touring
series races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway
will no longer feature a pack of cars running together.

NASCAR announced on Monday modifications to the qualifying format for Sprint
Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races at restrictor-plate tracks
(Daytona and Talladega). It will feature the return of single-car qualifying.

Starting with the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races at Talladega the first
weekend in May, there will be two rounds of qualifying, with the top-12 posted
lap speeds in the opening round advancing to the final segment.

Each driver will be allowed only one timed lap per round, and NASCAR will
release each car in a predetermined timed interval. NASCAR did note that it
reserves the right to have more than one car engaging in qualifying runs at
the same time.

The qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw,
and the order for the second round will be decided by slowest to fastest
speeds from the opening segment.

There will be a 10-minute break between the round. Upon completion of the
first round, starting positions 13 and beyond will be determined by speeds
from that segment. Positions 1-12 will be decided by fastest to slowest speeds
in round two.

NASCAR will impound the cars following each qualifying lap. Those 12 cars
advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a
cool-down unit during the 10-minute break only.

The qualifying procedures for the 2016 Daytona 500 will be announced at a
later date.

NASCAR made the changes to qualifying for Daytona and Talladega after its
group format was criticized by drivers in last month’s Daytona 500 qualifying.
It was the first time the format was used for that race in its 57-year

Almost every driver had some sort of complaint about the format at Daytona.
Clint Bowyer referred to it as “idiotic” after he was involved in a multi-car
wreck during the first round. Denny Hamlin used the word “mayhem” to label the
format, while Tony Stewart described it as “a complete embarrassment for our
series” when he expressed his opinion on his Twitter account after qualifying
had concluded.

There were also accidents involving many drivers in Xfinity and Camping World
Truck Series qualifying at Daytona in February.

When NASCAR used the format for Sprint Cup at Talladega last October,
qualifying there was chaotic and confusing, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failing
to qualify and championship Chase drivers Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Kevin
Harvick, Joey Logano and Hamlin having to take a provisional (owner points)
position in the starting field.