Superspeedway qualifying 101: How it works at Daytona and Talladega
NASCAR announced in late March a change for the qualifying format at the Sprint Cup Series' two restrictor-plate tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
The change came after drivers criticized the group qualifying format used in this year's Daytona 500 qualifying where a multi-car crash forced multiple drivers to backup cars.
So harsh was the criticism that Clint Bowyer, one of the drivers involved in the qualifying wreck, called the format, "idiotic."
As drivers prepare to qualify Saturday afternoon for Sunday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, here's a breakdown of how the new format works:
-- Two rounds of qualifying, with the top-12 posted lap speeds advancing to the second round
-- Race vehicles taking one, timed lap in each round of qualifying
-- Each race vehicle will be released in a predetermined timed interval as determined by NASCAR, with the sanctioning body reserving the right to have more than one vehicle engaging in qualifying runs at the same time
-- Qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw; final round qualifying order is determined by slowest to fastest speeds from the first round
-- A 10-minute break will occur between the first qualifying round and the final round
-- Upon completion of the first qualifying round, the field will be set with positions 13 and beyond determined from first round qualifying speed
-- The 12 fastest vehicles from the first round will have their speeds reset for the final round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the final round
-- NASCAR will impound race vehicles following each qualifying lap; vehicles advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a cool-down unit during the 10-minute break only