NASCAR doesn’t see cars sitting on pit road for 8 minutes as ‘that’s not NASCAR racing’
Team are playing the waiting game when it comes to qualifying.
In round one and round two of NASCAR qualifying, teams are given 10 minutes to set a time. When the clock starts, teams pull to the edge of the pit lane and wait for 8 minutes.
They all want to hit the track at once. Drafting has come into play. Thus, pack qualifying is desired by the teams.
So, the fans see 8 minutes of cars sitting at the edge of the pit lane as the clock runs down. At the last minute, everyone hits the track at once in hopes of setting the pole and making it to the line in time to start their lap.
This isn’t ideal in NASCAR’s eyes. Personally, I don’t mind it at all. It’s highly suspenseful and it’s entertaining to see if everyone is going to make it in time to start a lap before the clock expires.
How did we get here? The 2019 NASCAR rules package. Downforce has been added horsepower has been reduced. That’s created more on-throttle time at the tracks larger than 1-mile.
NASCAR doesn’t like what they saw in Texas Motor Speedway qualifying
“It’s really unfortunate for the fans,” Steve O’Donnell said via ‘The Morning Drive’ and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“It’s miraculous that Daniel Suarez is able to make a lap on his own and qualify 4th. So, I don’t know how that’s possible based on all the data the teams seem to be putting together to sit on the end of pit road and wait.”
“The one clarification on our end is that we instructed the #6 car to move. He did that. We strongly believe Clint Bowyer could of gotten out and passed the #6 car.”
“Regardless of that, the optics of what’s taking place with the teams is not tenable for us or the fans. So, we’re going to look at every option including the possibility of going to single car qualifying.”
“The reason we haven’t, that’s on the teams. We’ve tried to be as efficient as possible going to this method for qualifying. But, we’re definitely going to look at it and see what we can do. We got a couple weeks to do that.”
“We’ll make adjustments if needed.”
Steve O’Donnell’s personal reaction when watching qualifying
Are you angry when you’re watching that?
“Absolutely. I think it’s ridiculous, candidly.”
“I mean, I know the drivers did not like this qualifying that we were going to do before the season. So part of you asks, ‘Are we doing this on purpose?’ You know, to get rid of it.”
“I know it can be done. It very clear, we got the best drivers in the world who can figure it out. We seem to want to outdo each other and that results in sitting on pit road.”
“Again, that will have to be on us. We’ll react to it. We’ll make the right call and we’ll get it right. We don’t want to see cars sitting on pit road for 8 minutes. That’s not NASCAR racing, we’ll make the fix there.”
Rule requiring a lap
At Auto Club Speedway, drivers waited so long at the edge of the pit lane that no driver turned a lap in the final round of qualifying. The pole was sit based on lap time from round two instead of round three.
For Texas, NASCAR put a rule in place requiring drivers to turn a lap in every round they advance into. If they don’t then all their times from every round will be disallowed.
With that rule in place, every driver set a time at Texas Motor Speedway.
“And we’ll make another rule and we’ll figure something else out.”
“And that’s not what we want to do. We don’t want rules for qualifying. If we have to go back to single-car, simple, we’ll do that.”
“It won’t be popular with some of the owners. But, unfortunately, we’re getting put in this position.”