Indy, Michigan to use one timed lap qualifying
July 15, 2015, Staff report, NASCAR.com
RELATED: Superspeedway qualifying returns to one timed lap
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NASCAR officials told NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams on Wednesday that it plans to use the superspeedway qualifying format at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next weekend and Michigan International Speedway next month. High drag rules packages were instituted last week for Indianapolis and Michigan International Speedway. In an effort to align with this rules package, qualifying has been updated as well.
Beginning in May at Talladega Superspeedway, there were two rounds of qualifying with drivers turning one timed lap. The top 12 advanced to the final round. Each driver took a warm-up lap, the timed lap and a cool-down lap before returning to pit road. Under the new format at Talladega, Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award. It was his 80th career pole, which puts him third all time behind Richard Petty (123) and David Pearson (113). Austin Dillon won the XFINITY pole.
Last weekend, the format was scheduled to be run by the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, but rain forced the field to be set per the rule book by practice speeds. Under the new format, Daniel Suarez claimed his first XFINITY Series pole.
RELATED: Sprint Cup Series race director Richard Buck explains new superspeedway qualifying
Based on a random draw at Indianapolis, vehicles will line up on pit road for the first round -- rather than nose in or nose out in a pit stall -- and NASCAR will release drivers at a predetermined interval. The sanctioning body reserves the right to have more than one vehicle on track at a time. It's likely that two vehicles will be on track at the same time, but the second vehicle won't impede or help the one it follows on track.
Following each lap, NASCAR will impound vehicles, and there will be a 10-minute break between rounds. Only during that break may teams make adjustments, and they will only be allowed to adjust tape and use a cool-down unit at that time.
The final round qualifying order will be set from slowest to fastest speeds in the first round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in that second session.
Using a three-round qualifying format with multiple cars on the track at one time last July at Indianapolis, Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup pole and Kyle Busch took the XFINITY pole while Gordon set a track record at Michigan in Sprint Cup.
Next Saturday, July 25, XFINITY Series qualifying will be at 11:30 a.m. ET, and Sprint Cup Series qualifying will be at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.