On Wednesday NASCAR announced the much anticipated new Coors Light Pole Qualifying system for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series. The new system gets rid of single car or truck runs in either a 3 Round or 2 Round format depending on track length.
"We believe the timing is right for a new Coors Light Pole Award Qualifying format across our three national series," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition and racing development, said. "This style of group qualifying has all the making of being highly competitive and more engaging to our fans in the stands and those watching on television and online. For the drivers and teams, we believe this new qualifying will fuel even greater competition leading into the events."
The system is similar to what Formula One and the IndyCar Series use for qualifying.
A 3 Round format will be used at all tracks 1.25 miles or longer. Those tracks for 2014 include Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54 miles); Auto Club Speedway (2 miles); Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (2.46 miles); Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5 miles); Chicagoland Speedway (1.5 miles); Darlington Raceway (1.37 miles); Daytona International Speedway (2.5 miles) (except for the Daytona 500); Gateway Motorsports Park (1.25 miles); Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5 miles); Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5 miles); Kansas Speedway (1.5 miles); Kentucky Speedway (1.5 miles); Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5 miles); Michigan International Speedway (2 miles); Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2.4 miles); Pocono Raceway (2.5 miles); Road America (4.05 miles); Sonoma Raceway (1.99 miles); Talladega Superspeedway (2.66 miles); Texas Motor Speedway (1.5 miles); Watkins Glen International (2.45 miles).
In this format all the entries will have 25 minutes in Round 1 to post a qualifying time. The top 24 will advance to Round 2. Those who do not advance will be lined up based on their Round 1 qualifying time and provisionals in positions 25 on back. In Round 2 the 24 drivers will have 10 minutes to post a second-round qualifying time. The top 12 will advance to Round 3 with those who finish 13th to 24th lining up in those spots for race day. Round 3 will be five minutes in length with the fastest driver winning the Coors Light Pole Award.
A 2 Round format will be used at all tracks less than 1.25 miles in length. Those tracks for 2014 include Bristol Motor Speedway (0.53 miles); Dover International Speedway (1 mile); Iowa Speedway (0.88 miles); Martinsville Speedway (0.526 miles); New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1.06 miles); Phoenix International Raceway (1 mile); Richmond International Raceway (0.75 miles).
In this format all the entries will have 30 minutes to post a qualifying time. The top 12 will advance to Round 2 with the rest lining up by Round 1 speeds and provisionals from 13th place on back. Round 2 will be 10 minutes with the fastest driver winning the Coors Light Pole Award.
There will be a five minute break between each round in the 3 Round format and a 10 minute break between rounds in the 2 Round format where teams will be able to make adjustments such as wedge, track bar, tire pressures, and tape strategies.
The cars or trucks will be lined up on pit road before qualifying based on a random draw. They may exit pit road at any time during the allotted rounds time period. There is no minimum or maximum number of laps that need to be run by a driver in each round. Pit road speed will be enforced during each round of qualifying.
If all of qualifying is not completed due to weather or other factors the lineup will be set based on the last fully completed round or if none were completed the NASCAR rule book will set the field.
The only two races that these qualifying rules will not be used for is the Daytona 500 and the Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway. The Daytona 500 qualifying will still consist of single car runs to set the front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting orders for the two qualifying races. Eldora will use heat races like last season for the qualifying format.
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