Thursday, September 23, 2021

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NASCAR announces changes to knock-out qualifying format

NASCAR notified teams this afternoon in all three national series that they have made some modifications to the knock-out qualifying procedure.

Those changes include:

  • One cool down unit connected through either the left side or right side hood flap/cowl flap is allowed to cool the engine
  • The hood must continue to remain closed
  • Plugging in the generator will not be allowed
  • Two crew members will be allowed over the wall to support the car and driver
  • No cool down laps will be permitted

“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”

Before today, teams were not allowed to use cool down units, and as a result, teams were sending out drivers to do slow laps in an effort to cool down the motors. However, this became a problem as drivers felt it was dangerous due to the speed difference between themselves and their fellow competitors. Brian Vickers sited it as the most dangerous thing he’s done in a racecar to date.

With a trip to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, the change looks to be positive as the half-mile bull ring doesn’t offer room for drivers to get out of the way of each other.

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