NASCAR changes qualifying procedures at Sonoma, Watkins Glen

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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.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.