Find out more about our subscriptions

NASCAR says no rush to make changes to new qualifying format

NASCAR says it will not rush to make any changes to its new full-field qualifying format despite some drivers' concerns over near-misses at Phoenix.

The previous single-car format has been ditched in favour of Formula 1-style knockout qualifying, with the sessions' duration and the number of cars eliminated in each segment varying depending on the track type.

In the system's debut at Phoenix, the full 43-car field took to the track for the first part of qualifying, before the top 12 went into a pole shootout.

While drivers welcomed the extra excitement and spectacle of the system, there were concerns over car running extremely slow laps to cool their engines between flying laps as cool-down units are not permitted on pitroad during qualifying.

Rookie Kyle Larson, who qualified seventh at Phoenix, said he had a near-miss with Marcos Ambrose.

"It was a little sketchy for other cars that were at speed," he said.

"I didn't know the #9 was coming and I was rolling through [Turns] 1 and 2 on the bottom and he got close to hitting me.

"I'm sure NASCAR will tweak it and make it a little different but it was exciting."

NASCAR's vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said series chiefs were getting a variety of feedback.

"Like everything we've been able to do over the last four to six months, we'll continue to talk to the drivers and teams and solicit feedback on what, if anything, we can do," he said.

"But we also heard drivers say 'don't let anybody talk you into putting cool-down units in' because they feel like it's part of the strategy - how much tape you run, how many times you run. There are a lot of things out there to work on."

Brad Keselowski took pole for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races under the new system at Phoenix.

The 2012 Cup champion said he loved having a chance to make multiple attempts at pole.

"Qualifying has been one of those formats that I've struggled with," said Keselowski.

"It hasn't really suited my style in the past whereas this qualifying format really does suit my style a lot better.

"It gives me a chance to learn and apply, which was instrumental in our success.

"It's interesting how small format changes like this can favour or disfavour certain teams and individuals and this one is one that we've been able to take to like a fish to water."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed