Talladega Superspeedway is fast, but when it comes to qualifying at the upcoming Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck races there (Oct. 17-19), the fast will get even faster.
The track announced Thursday that it will implement “more rapid qualifying formats” for both the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and fred’s 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
“It’s appropriate that our facility, which was built as a palace of speed, will play host to this new qualifying format where achieving speed quickly will be pivotal,” said Talladega chairman Grant Lynch. “There will be intense pressure on the drivers and teams to make their laps count, and it’s going to be one heck of a chess match to see the tactics for success. We know our fans will enjoy it.”
According to a track media release, “Both national series’ qualifying will take on a more fast-paced look that should resemble race conditions and promises to bring out the best in the competitors.”
“This revision in national series qualifying at Talladega should be more exciting for our fans,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition and Racing Development. “It will feature a more accelerated pace, provide greater opportunity for team strategy to come into play and it should more closely resemble actual racing conditions.”
Here’s a breakdown of the changes in qualifying for both series:
- Three rounds of qualifying with the first round divided into two groups of competitors based on a random draw held prior to the event. The first round is five minutes in length for each group.
- The 24 drivers who post the fastest single lap speed from either of the first qualifying round groups will advance to the second round. The remaining competitors will be sorted based on their speed posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.
- There will be a 10-minute break after the completion of the first qualifying round and the 24 remaining competitors who advance to the second round will have their times reset.
- The second qualifying round is five minutes in length and the 12 eligible competitors who post the fastest single lap speed will advance to the third and final round.
- The fastest remaining competitors will earn positions 13-24 based on their fastest single lap speed posted in qualifying in descending order.
- Following a five minute break, the 12 eligible competitors who advance to the final round will have their posted speeds reset.
- The final qualifying round is five minutes in length and the fastest single lap speed will determine positions 1-12 in descending order.
The changes in qualifying could wind up being crucial for drivers in the Chase, as that weekend’s race is the sixth in the playoffs and will serve as the cutoff event for the Contender Round, which will slice the number of championship-eligible drivers from 12 to eight after the race.
Trucks qualifying will be Friday, Oct., 17, at 5:30 pm ET, while Sprint Cup qualifying will be Oct. 18 at 4:30 pm ET.
In addition to the qualifying changes, the track has moved up the start of the Oct. 18 fred’s 250 Truck Series race to a 1 pm ET start.
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