Earlier this week, NASCAR announced changes to its qualifying precedure for Sprint Cup Series races on road courses. The cirucit currently runs two road course races a year at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and in Sonoma, Calif.
“The change will add an exciting element to road course qualifying,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “Fans will be treated to new strategy and increased competition with several cars on track at once.”
Cars attempting to qualify for a given road course race will be divided into groups with the number of groups and number of cars in each group depending on the number of cars entered for the event. Specific cars/drivers in each group will be determined by speeds posted in final practice. Each qualifying group will then have a set period of time on track to make as many laps as possible and the time of the fastest lap during that time for each car/driver will be that car/driver’s qualifying time.
This type of qualifying procedure is already used by the Nationwide Series to determine the starting grid for its three yearly road course races, including an annual stop at Watkins Glen.
“The new format of qualifying at Watkins Glen International enhances the fan experience, which is our top priority,” Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said.
The first road course race of the season for the Sprint Cup Series will be June 23 at Sonoma Raceway. The circuit heads to Watkins Glen on Aug. 11.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR