“You’ve… Stolen the Weekend” – Fans Left Extremely Unhappy After NASCAR Changes Its Qualification Model for 2024

Published 01/24/2024, 11:16 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Just as we speak, teams and drivers will be preparing for the unofficial season opener at the L.A. Coliseum. But little did they know that NASCAR would throw a curveball at them with the Busch Light Clash right around the corner. After their decision to cancel practice and qualifying sessions in the year 2020, NASCAR created a whole lot of controversy not just among fans but also among the drivers. And now, their latest announcement seems like a recipe for the same!

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Recently, NASCAR revealed its new rules for the time-trial qualification. While not much changes for the drivers with the top 10 timings, there is some news for the remaining cars.

Everything you need to know about the new change in NASCAR’s qualifying format and other changes

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Announcing the changes, NASCAR put out a statement on the website saying, “Beginning in 2024 – and with the exception of the Daytona 500, which has its own unique qualifying procedure – cars that do not advance [to top 10] from Group A will determine the outside row for starting positions 11-40, while the remaining cars from Group B will determine the inside row.” 

In the recent format, which was followed till the end of 2023, NASCAR used to divide the whole grid into 2 Groups: A & B. After the qualifying runs were over for both groups, the top ten drivers, (five from each) were given 1 to 10 grid spots based on their fastest lap time. After that, the same practice was followed for the remaining drivers of both groups to fill in the 11 to 40 grid spots. Now, the new change that NASCAR has in store majorly concerns the drivers who won’t make it to the top 10, or rather the top 5 of their group.

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In the case of a superspeedway, the group system won’t come into play. Instead, just two rounds of qualification races will take place. “For superspeedways, there will be no groups during qualifying procedures. There will be two rounds, with the fastest 10 drivers advancing from the first round and the best time from Round 2 taking the pole.” But that is not all!

The NASCAR officials state that the new changes were made after they received feedback from the industry. Moreover, the changes were made in light of changing track conditions throughout the qualifying sessions. Another development was the return of wet tires on all road courses and most ovals that are 1 mile in length or shorter. There were a few more changes announced by NASCAR.

NASCAR will no longer require teams to have windshield wipers or rain flaps for the short tracks with the only “wet weather” package items being grooved tires and a defogger. For the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial NASCAR will hold a demonstration run of a battery-run electric vehicle it has developed. There are no current plans to have an electric series but NASCAR is developing technology looking at potential electric vehicles and/or hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

In July 2020, NASCAR announced that the remainder of the schedule for all three national touring divisions would be contested without practice or qualifying sessions. This was done as a cost-containment coronavirus prevention measure. Now with the new qualifying rule in place things can look a lot different for NASCAR fans.

After coming to know about the new qualifying format, the fans were quick to respond, calling it a disappointment for the NASCAR races.

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Fans react to the changed qualification model

NASCAR fans are not easily pleased and have a reputation for calling out the officials on several occasions. Here too, fans have made their opinions clear as they were not on board with the proposed changes. Taking to Twitter, one user simply termed this new rule a ‘gimmick’. “Qualifying doesn’t need entertainment gimmicks. Go back to single car, 1 or 2 laps depending on the track, and line them up in order by time.

Letting their preference known, one fan put quite a heavy accusation on NASCAR. “Bring back 3-day race events. You have basically stolen the weekend from race fans.”

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One user wasn’t clearly pleased and wrote, “NASCAR needs to drug test who ever is making these decisions. How can you scr*w up something that is so simple? Single car Q with just 1 lap. It’s really not that freaking hard.”

Another user was struck by how many changes NASCAR keeps making year after year. “WHY DO WE KEEP CHANGING THINGS??

Pointing out how complicated the whole process has become, one fan wrote, “Other racing series = Qualifying/Time Trials, NASCAR = Round Two, Group B, inside row, knockout, random draw, coin flip, etc.”

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Do you feel the new changes make sense? Or are you angry with NASCAR’s antics as well?

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Written by:

Chintan Devgania

290Articles

One take at a time

It was the Fast & Furious movies that acted as my gateway to the world of cars and motorsports. Later, as I completed my undergrad in Journalism, I learned how to channel my thoughts and opinions, which only helped me kick-start my career as a sportswriter. Having written multiple copies for the Scottish Daily, I am now looking to expand and contribute at EssentiallySports as a NASCAR writer, informing, enlightening, and entertaining the fans with my stories.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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