If you’re a race fan, one of the most tedious if not boring aspects of watching qualifying on a road course is you may see a car come by every couple of minutes — and that’s it.
Well, that won’t be the case at Sonoma Raceway this weekend and the August road course race at New York’s Watkins Glen International.
NASCAR announced Friday that single-car qualifying will be suspended at both tracks this season and that group qualifying will become the norm.
The way the new qualifying process works is like this, according to a NASCAR statement:
“Cars will be assigned to one of five or six groups based on practice speeds, slowest to fastest. Within those groups, cars will be separated fastest to slowest and released at intervals. Each group will have a window in which cards can complete their qualifying, each likely receiving three laps at full speed. A car’s fastest lap will count and the field will be set based upon overall qualifying speeds. The process has been used previously for NASCAR Nationwide Series road course qualifications.”
It’s uncertain whether the new process will be permanent from this point going forward, or whether it’s a one-season experiment.