NASCAR drivers react to hectic Las Vegas Motor Speedway qualifying session

Some NASCAR drivers embrace the bold rule changes; Others absolutely despise it

Well, that qualifying session at LVMS was something special!

The new NASCAR rules package brought mind games and drafting to qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was exciting to watch and it was completely unpredictable.

What caused the wild qualifying run at Las Vegas? NASCAR has brought a new rules package to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. In addition to everything we saw last week in Atlanta. Now, the cars are also fitted with aero ducts.

In the opening round of NASCAR Cup Series practice, teams discovered mid-way through the session that it was faster to run in a pack. That’s a stark contrast to years past.

Previously, two cars would of course go faster in a straight line. But, as soon as they touched the corners, clean air was required for any kind of lap time.

In Las Vegas Motor Speedway qualifying on Friday, clean air was a heavy disadvantage. Drivers needed to be in the draft to have any shot at the pole.

As a result, we saw hectic group qualifying runs. Nobody wanted to go out first. They sat at the end of pit road and waited out the clock. Until it was almost too late, then they all hit the track, at the same time.

Kyle Larson
Qualified: 7th

“Yeah, we did it in Xfinity until we started crashing. Then, NASCAR made it single car qualifying at a lot of those tracks,” Kyle Larson told Matt Weaver.

“It is definitely crazy. Just leaving pit road is intense. Me and Harvick were close to squeezing each other and getting damage.”

“That was wild. But, we’ll do whatever they tell us to do.”

“That’s why trucks single qualifying, everywhere it seems. Cause they had crashes.”

Several passes were made at high speeds during the final run of qualifying. Drivers were racing to be in the right position, in qualifying.

“There’s definitely going to be moments where teams are going to backup cars,” Larson concluded.

Toyota Camry aero ducts - Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Toyota Camry aero ducts – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Photo: Torey Fox | NASCAR Digital Media)

Kyle Busch
Qualified: 3rd

“Whatever the fans like. That’s what it’s all about, I guess,” Kyle Busch said.

“It’s just interesting, it’s not about the fastest car. It’s about putting yourself in position. About having a little luck on your side to get to the start finish line before the time runs out.”

“It’s stressful and not as easy as it would be if we were all by ourselves. But, that’s what we’re doing,” Kyle Busch concluded.

Chase Elliott
Qualified: 12th

“I felt like it was entertaining. So, hopefully it was to watch,” Chase Elliot stated.

“It was fun. We played some of those games in the Xfinity Series. I watched the truck guys do it often before they changed the rules.”

“I think it’s fun. Hey, if it’s more entertain than us running around there by ourselves, then so be it.”

Ryan Newman
Qualifying: 29th

“We just didn’t get things lined up right because you shouldn’t have to line up things to qualify,” Ryan Newman told Bob Pockrass.

“I mean, that’s the direction our sport has gone. But, I just don’t believe in it at this point.”

“I always loved qualifying, single car. Going out, doing your own thing and racing the race track. That was qualifying.”

“That’s the way every other series does it across the United States, to my knowledge. I’m just not a fan of it.”

“You got manufactures manipulating manufactures and eams manipulating teams. That’s not the way qualifying is suppose to be.”

Kevin Harvick at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick
Qualifying: 1st

Kevin Harvick was the second to last car to cross the start finish line in his round three run. He made it to the line by 0.828 seconds. Less than a second later and the qualifying time wouldn’t have counted.

“It may not be the fastest car that gets the pole today. It’s going to come down to timing,” Kevin Harvick said in the media center after claiming the pole position.

“Our team has made a decision to really focus on exactly what we need with our car and what we think we need to make it go fast.”

“Whatever the rules wind up being, we’re going to try to be the best team. I think that’s going to be the healthiest mindset for myself and the race team going forward.”

“Whatever the rules are, we’re not going to complain about them. We just want to win.”

Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Qualifying Highlight Video


Las Vegas Motor Speedway Starting Lineup

NASCAR TV Schedule: Las Vegas Motor Speedway


Kyle Busch | Kyle Larson | Chase Elliott | Ryan Newman | Kevin Harvick | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | NASCAR