Will NASCAR Need to Change the Cup Race Qualifying Format?

Jose Verdugo
Febrero 14, 2019

NASCAR have announced a surprising rule change that will now see winners disqualified if they fail the post-race inspection. If a auto failed inspection, either at the track or in a more thorough secondary teardown at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in the days following the race, driver and team were usually docked points, fined or in some cases had crew members suspended.

This new inspection can take anywhere between 90 minutes to two hours after the race.

The Clash field is limited to drivers who were 2018 Busch Pole Award winners, former Clash event winners who competed fulltime in 2018, former Daytona 500 champions who competed fulltime in 2018, former Daytona 500 pole-winners who raced fulltime in 2018 and drivers who qualified for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. "When they come to the track, we'll be much less lenient as they go through technical inspection with stiffer penalties in terms of qualifying, and then ultimately during the race, obviously we want everyone to be racing straight up". The current single-lap qualifying system does typically run quicker than the pre-2014 single-car system due to the single-lap limit and NASCAR officials sending the next qualifier on track as soon as possible once the previous qualifier has started a hot lap.

At every national-series track next season, the down-time intervals between rounds will be trimmed from seven minutes to five.

Also unchanged is the road-course qualifying format, which again consists of a 25-minute opening round and a 10-minute final round. NASCAR said it was near certain the new vehicle will have a composite body.

The seventh-generation stock vehicle is on schedule to compete in 2021.

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"Our industry understands the need to focus on what happens on the racetrack".

Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., will have an expanded role in 2019 as managing director of racing operations and global development.

Kennedy, 27, was named managing director of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series one year ago. His new role puts him alongside O'Donnell at the front of NASCAR leadership.

A $50,000 bonus - in addition to the posted purse - for the team/driver who wins one of the three races.

"This new program for the series illustrates that NASCAR is adding more excitement for the fans and providing promoters with additional storylines to add even more drama to our events", Gateway Motorsports Park Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Blair said.

To conduct inspections, NASCAR will have separate officials for the three national series: the Cup Series will have 12, while the Xfinity Series will have 10 and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will feature eight members. A second victory will be worth $150,000 and a sweep is worth $500,000.

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