Gas 'N' Go: Qualifying Changes?

Martin Truex Jr., Reed Sorenson

Does NASCAR's qualifying format need tweaking? Pete Pistone and Dustin Long weigh in on that issue. (Photo: Getty Images)

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The pits are open again and, MRN.com's Pete Pistone and Dustin Long each answer this week's featured question in "Gas 'N' Go."

After seeing the new qualifying format, are there changes NASCAR should make to it?

MRN Staff

Answer

Pete Pistone
Pete Pistone

NASCAR should leave the group qualifying policies alone after only being used one time in the Sprint Cup Series and twice in Nationwide. Part of the idea's appeal is the unknown - how crew chiefs approach each week's session, what strategies they'll use, what drivers will do to get a shot at turning the best lap and how to deal with keeping engines cool.

The last thing the sport needs is any new rule or legislation telling teams how to prepare for a race. If slowing down on track is what they choose to do to get the engine temperature down, then so be it. Should a team want to put tape on the nose of their car to get better downforce and the potential of more speed, then they take the risk of overheating their engines. NASCAR shouldn't have to tell teams what they can and can't do during qualifying set-up.

The saying goes nobody pays to see the umpire or referee. NASCAR has done a good thing by introducing a new and exciting qualifying format. The guidelines are in place. Let the teams do their jobs and not put the sanctioning body in the role of having to over-officiate.

Dustin Long
Dustin Long

It’s too early to make changes but don’t be surprised if something isn’t done by the end of the month for Martinsville.

The biggest issue is drivers cooling their engines by running around the track at reduced speed. It created a bizarre scene at Phoenix with cars cruising in the bottom lane while others were qualifying. 

At Martinsville, there is no apron in the corners and the bottom groove is the preferred line. Thus, it is difficult for slower cars to stay out of the way of those qualifying. If nothing else, NASCAR might need to set a minimum speed for qualifying as is done for the race.  

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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