Last week, NASCAR announced a new qualifying procedure for its three national touring series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck), adopting more of a Formula 1-type of qualifying format, a.k.a. knockout qualifying. The new format applies to all races with the exception of the Daytona 500 for the Sprint Cup Series and the Truck Series dirt race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
While I’m still not crazy about the supposed, proposed new Chase for the Sprint Cup format that includes eliminations and a points reset for the final race, I can, at least somewhat, get behind this new qualifying procedure. Before I go any further, I’d like to reiterate that the proposed Chase changes I wrote about last week have neither been confirmed nor denied by NASCAR, so there’s still hope they won’t be implemented exactly as speculated. I’m assuming an official announcement will come on Thursday during a scheduled “State of the Sport” address during the Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte.
Anyway, back to the new qualifying format that, unlike this whole Chase rumbling, has been confirmed.
Racing is, and should be, about more than just raw speed, so why shouldn’t qualifying be the same? I think that’s why this whole idea of everyone on the track at the same time, at least during the first session, is so appealing. Not only does it make pure speed important, handling and driver skill also come into play. Not to mention, it’s definitely more exciting to watch a bunch of cars on the track as opposed to one car at a time. After all, races have been more exciting to watch that the qualifying sessions one or two days before, haven’t they? Okay before some of you NASCAR critics chime in and say the racing’s been boring in recent years, think about this: even if you’ve been bored by the racing, wasn’t it still more exciting than the qualifying?
I still have my fingers crossed that possible Chase changes won’t exactly mirrored to speculation floating around, but at least maybe NASCAR got it right with this whole qualifying thing.