With new rules in effect that ban cool-down laps during qualifying, Matt Kenseth is looking forward to a less stressful knockout session this afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Earlier this week, NASCAR enacted changes to their new qualifying format that also allowed teams to use cool-down units on pit road. The changes came in the nick of time, as the tight half-mile of Bristol Motor Speedway would’ve afforded little room for drivers to run slow laps in order to cool their engines.
“…I think it’s going to look more like a normal qualifying session except there will be more cars out there,” Kenseth said this morning before practice according to USA Today’s Nate Ryan.
“Everybody should be able to be more patient and pick and choose your time when you want to get rolling. Be able to wait for a clean lap and go.”
Kenseth, who won last August over Kasey Kahne at Bristol, was one of multiple drivers to tag the wall in what was a treacherous practice session on the high-banked oval.
However, he did not have to go to a backup car like four others had to: Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle.
This morning, he noted the importance of keeping on top of the track conditions at this challenging course in addition to working in confined quarters.
“It definitely changes a lot during the weekend,” Kenseth added per Ryan. “I think the track is going to be drastically different here in a little while, and it probably will again in qualifying later this afternoon, and it will be in the race again. You always have to pay attention to that.”
The former Cup champion has been relatively strong in recent years at Bristol with a win, four Top-5s and seven Top-10s in his last nine visits to Thunder Valley.
He’s also led in each of his last five Bristol races for a total of 414 laps – the most of any driver in that span.