NASCAR changes continue to place emphasis on qualifying
NASCAR has announced some qualifying-rule changes and they really are a dramatic departure from the past. I'm excited about it but we also have to keep in mind it doesn't really change the importance of qualifying all that much.
Qualifying upfront has always been and will continue to be of high importance. Obviously, it gets you a better starting spot in the race and that comes into play even more dramatically on the short tracks. Equally important is the fact that when you qualify well, you get a better pit selection.
Setting that all aside, it definitely is going to be a different animal when it comes to qualifying. I am tickled to death they have made this change.
I have said for a while now that the days of a television viewer or even a fan in the grandstands at the track being willing to watch a single-car qualifying run for a two and sometimes two-and-a-half hour qualifying session are over.
Remember that Daytona in February will continue to have its own separate qualifying system. I can't wait until we get to Phoenix the following week after the Daytona 500 and see this new procedure in action for the first time.
It's going to take a lot more thought by the driver, crew chief and engineers based on the new strategy of how qualifying is going to be run in a really short time frame.
I never imagined we'd ever see this in NASCAR but just know I am absolutely thrilled it is now going to be a part of our sport.