There will be a different qualifying setup for the final restrictor plate races of the season.
NASCAR announced tweaks to the group qualifying format for the Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega in October.
At Talladega in the spring and Daytona in July, qualifying was a game of wait and draft. Teams were trying to time runs so that they were all on the track at the same time and were catching up to a group of cars. With the draft, a group of cars is faster than a single car. The waiting to draft game meant that there were long stretches, especially in the first round of qualifying, where there wasn't much action.
There will still be three qualifying rounds where the field is whittled to 24 drivers and then to 12. However, the first round will involve two groups. Each group, which will be selected by a random draw, will qualify for five minutes. The top 24 speeds overall will advance to the second round. (The first round was previously 25 minutes long.
The second round will be five minutes instead of 10 and the fastest 12 drivers will advance to the final round. The final round will then be five more minutes, where the top 12 qualifiers will be decided.
It's a good move. The group qualifying format has had a tendency to drag on, especially in the first rounds at times. There's no problem with speeding up the pace of it, especially at a track where qualifying position is the least important.
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