NASCAR has made modifications to its group qualifying procedures and will utilize them this week for the Xfinity and Truck series races at Daytona International Speedway.
The changes come after several drivers complained about the process used in Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying session. The changes are intended to prevent the gamesmanship by teams that caused a bottleneck on pit road during each round.
“We continue to work in collaboration with the industry to implement the most exciting and competitive qualifying format, especially as it relates to superspeedways,” said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell. “We will continue to review the qualifying format for future superspeedway events.”
With the changes, the Xfinity and Truck fields will be broken into four groups by random draw in Round 1. Each round will last 2 minutes and 30 seconds (down from 5 minutes), barely long enough for teams to leave pit road and complete a qualifying attempt.
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Before the clock starts, teams must be parked nose-first in their pit stall. Once the session starts, if a car moves, it must go and complete its qualifying attempt or its time will be disallowed.
In Round 2, there will be two groups of 12, split by odd and even ranked cars and lined up fastest to slowest.
In Round 3, the top 12 cars will compete for the pole in one, 21/2-minute session.
Xfinity adds NASCAR content
Concast announced two new additions Wednesday to its Xfinity on Demand platform and X1: Sports App for its customers, which will offer highlights from Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Truck races.
Xfinity this season begins a 10-year contract to sponsor what was formerly known as the Nationwide Series.
The app will allow viewers to tune directly to the races or set a recording to watch later. Later this year, the app will also feature leaderboards, The On Demand platform will also provide race recaps, previews, garage cams and more.
Hill lands Truck ride
Austin Hill, who won Sunday night’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway by leading every lap, has landed a ride for Friday’s Truck series season opener at Daytona.
Hill, 20, will drive Empire Racing’s No. 82 Ford in the race. Hill has two previous starts in the Truck series, both coming last season. His best finish was 20th at Homestead, Fla.
Hill also competed in last week’s Automobile Racing Club of America series opener at Daytona and finished 13th.
Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.