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NASCAR’s Scott Miller on group qualifying: ‘We’ve got some work to do’

FONTANA, Calif. — NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller addressed the media Friday afternoon after all 12 drivers failed to make it back to the start/finish line to post a time in the final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Auto Club Speedway.

He didn’t mince words, either.

“I saw what our fans don’t want,” Miller said. “Having the last 12 cars wait until they couldn’t get a time posted on the board and kind of making a mockery out of the qualifying is not what we expect for our fans. It’s a little bit on us in that we hoped things would go better than that.

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“It’s an exciting show when they’re out there on the race track, but obviously, we have a little work to do on our part to get a little bit better format so things like can’t happen,” he added. “We certainly want to provide our fans with what they deserve. We and the teams didn’t do a very good job of that today. We’re really disappointed.”

Miller noted that no decisions have been made regarding how the current qualifying procedure will be tweaked at this time, but single-car qualifying would be a last resort.

“I think we definitely make some tweaks to it,” Miller said.  “… We really don’t want to go back to single-car qualifying. There may not be another way, but we want to try to exhaust every possibility before we do that because it’s not as fun and not as intriguing of a show as the group situation. We’re going to try to figure out a way to adjust the group qualifying thing and not go back to single, but we’ve got some work to do on that.”

Miller expects no changes will be made prior to the race weekend at Martinsville Speedway, but rather NASCAR officials will shift their attention to enhancements in time for Texas Motor Speedway.

“We won’t see this sort of situation at Martinsville, so I would say by Texas we’re going to have to because it will be a little bit of the same scenario with wanting to go out there and run together and draft. I would say by Texas we will have something different in the queue.”

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Miller also noted he was surprised by how drivers and teams were unable to begin a lap before time expired in the final round.

“It surprised me that they weren’t smart enough to go out and actually get back to the start/finish line in time to post a time,” Miller added. “Yeah, that surprised me.”