Qualifying changes coming to NASCAR in 2014
January 10, 2014, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
Single-car format nixed for Nationwide, Truck Series; Daytona stays the same
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The days of single-car qualifying runs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are over, and the sanctioning body continues to examine qualifying options for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beyond the Daytona 500.
That was the word Friday from Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, who said the traditional qualifying process for the Daytona 500 would remain in place -- but the starting lineups for the Nationwide and Truck tours would be determined by a format other than single-car qualifying yet to be announced, at Daytona International Speedway and elsewhere.
"I can tell you that the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series will not be single-car qualifying at all this year, and we're still working on some of the final details of that," Pemberton said during a media briefing at Daytona.
NASCAR moved to group qualifying on road courses for 2013, and late last year in a meeting with competitors said it was considering the elimination of single-car qualifying beginning with the 2014 campaign. No format change for Sprint Cup qualifying has been announced, and Pemberton said the Daytona 500 would retain its usual format entailing single-car qualifying runs and the two 150-mile Budweiser Duel races that set the field for the Great American Race.
"Daytona's format has always been a one-off, and it's a great format," Pemberton said. "We've got the duels on Thursday, and that's always been a pressure-packed race for the teams. Especially now with the lack of lock-ins, you've got to race in. And so this place stands on its own right now."
The Nationwide and Truck circuits, though, will see something different for Coors Light and Keystone Light Pole Qualifying beginning at Speedweeks next month, though Pemberton stopped short of saying whether that would be group qualifying, qualifying races or some other format involving multiple cars on the track.
"We'll let you know during the rest of the month of January ," he said. "… We've got a lot of things on our plate, more than normal. As we work through the details, we'll get them out to you as soon as we can."
And what of potential changes to Sprint Cup qualifying beyond the Daytona 500? "I can tell you we're finalizing everything and we're working on it," Pemberton said, "and we will have plenty of news in the month of January."