NASCAR drivers react to qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway

Kevin Harvick says you can’t qualify these cars in they way NASCAR is trying to do it

NASCAR qualifying was a bit of a mess again at Texas Motor Speedway.

With knockout qualifying, drivers are given a time limit. Most of the field elected to use 90% of that time sitting at the edge of the pit lane. It was suspenseful.

From an entertainment standpoint, I was highly entertained for qualifying. Far more than I am for single car runs anyway.

But, not every driver feels that way.

Chase Elliott at Texas Motor Speedway
Chase Elliott at Texas Motor Speedway (Photo: Matt Sullivan | Getty Images)

Team Chevy

Chase Elliott: “The rules are the same for everybody and we did a good job and had a fast car and got a good tow and Chevrolet got a one-two-three.”

Jimmie Johnson: “It’s been a long couple of years, and we still have a ways to go. And, certainly race day is much more important than Friday, but we’ve been working so hard, and I think we are a bit guilty of trying too hard and maybe stepping outside of our comfort zone at times, and putting setups on the car at times that just aren’t proven yet.”

“With all that said, we were very aggressive coming here and changing a lot of stuff on our mile-and-a-half program. Top of the chart all day long, and a great start for this Ally tean. I’m really proud of everybody for keeping the faith and working hard.”

Team Penske

Brad Keselowski: “If I’m fast and if there’s a lot of fans in the stands and a big rating, I think it’s great.  If it’s none of those things, I hate it.”

Joey Logano: “As expected.  I don’t think there was anything surprising.  My question was is everyone gonna wait to try to get one lap in or is everyone gonna go to get two.”

“The rules are new and helped, so it wasn’t a complete logjam down there at the end.  It still was a little bit, but it wasn’t as bad.  That was better, so there you go.”

“I think it’s pretty entertaining.  I don’t know.  From my seat there’s a lot going on.”

“But there’s also a little bit of something to making sure you’re in the right situation and set yourself up in the right spot.  It’s probably 50/50 right now.”

“I don’t think anyone forgets about it.  This is the top level, so these guys just don’t do something and forget about it.  We all go out back and we’ll study everything that just happened there and try to find new ways to juke out our competition, and we’ll end up juking ourselves out again.  That’s how it works.  We outsmarted ourselves today.”

“Who said there’s a problem?  That’s my opinion.  I think it’s entertaining. There’s a lot to talk about for you guys.  You guys all have microphones out and there’s a lot to talk about, so I think it’s OK.”

“There’s a lot of action and it all happens very, very quick.  Maybe the biggest problem is how you show it on TV.  That might be really hard to do because there is so much action happening at one time I don’t see how a camera can get it all, but outside of that I think there’s a lot going on.”

Ford Performance

Clint Bowyer: “I guess this a make-up-the-rules-as-we-go event in qualifying. It’s sad.”

“Those people up there paid a lot of money to bring their families here to watch a qualifying session where people try to go out and do their best and you’re just sitting around waiting because you know your best is only good enough if the guy in front of you does a good job.  That’s not qualifying.  Whatever.”

Kevin Harvick: “You just can’t qualify these cars this way.  I love group qualifying, but I just laughed all the way out to the race track.”

Paul Menard: “We’re gonna see this at every mile-and-a-half track or every intermediate track.  I’m not gonna waste any brain power on it.  They’ll tell us what the parameters are and we’ll work within them.”

Daniel Suarez: “I was planning to go by myself without helping anyone, so I waited until everyone was shut off so I could go quick and they didn’t have time to re-fire and then go.  That part played out well.”

“The part that we just missed a little bit is that we were expecting them to make more mistakes or to wait a little bit longer, but they didn’t. That was our gamble. We were out of trouble and the car was good, fast and we didn’t have to work as hard as they did that’s for sure.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: “Yeah, single car.  That’s about the only solution because at this point we all want to draft.”

“Suarez and his guys showed you could do it without drafting.  They had a really fast car and I was surprised nobody went with him when he went.”

Denny Hamlin at Texas Motor Speedway
Denny Hamlin (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Toyota Racing Development

Martin Truex Jr: “I can’t control everybody else and I felt like I was in a decent spot coming to the first lap – or to end of my first lap – so I could get a good second lap.”

“They got side-by-side in front of me again, and they slowed up, and I caught them so fast going into one, that I had to slow up and either run through them or blow the corner. Just wrong spot and it’s just silly. This qualifying deal needs a bit of an overhaul in my opinion.”

Denny Hamlin: “It’s frustrating and that’s all you can really say about it. It’s just frustrating.”


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Texas Motor Speedway | NASCAR