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NASCAR brings back practice and qualifying for 2022

The NASCAR Cup Series and its Xfinity and Truck divisions will return to holding a qualifying session in 2022 and most weekends will also see a return to practice.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts

Due to COVID-19 pandemic protocols and for cost-saving, the vast majority of NASCAR race weekends have gone without practice or qualifying since early 2020.

In a statement, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said: “NASCAR is excited to return practice and qualifying to its race weekends.

“We missed seeing cars and trucks on track all weekend long, and so did our fans.

“We worked closely with our broadcast partners, teams and racetracks to create an exciting, unique qualifying format, while keeping several of the efficiencies that helped our entire industry successfully navigate the pandemic.”

For a majority of Cup Series races, the field will be split into two groups and participate in a practice and qualifying event that will last approximately two hours.

During six Cup Series weekends, five Xfinity Series weekends and eight Truck Series weekends, NASCAR will implement an extended practice weekend schedule, which will feature one standalone 50-minute practice as well as a qualifying event.

Daytona International Speedway’s Speedweeks and the lead-up to the Daytona 500 will employ the extended practice format for all three series.

Qualifying for the front row of the 500 is set for the evening of Wednesday 16 February.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports testing William Byron's Nascar Next Gen car

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports testing William Byron's Nascar Next Gen car

Photo by: Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Oval Qualifying

  • Group A and Group B will each receive 15 minutes of practice
  • Groups set by odd/even finishing order of previous race
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – single car, one lap*
  • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – single car, one lap*
  • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap*

* Two laps at Bristol, Dover, Martinsville and Richmond

Superspeedways

  • Qualifying Round 1 (all cars) – single car, one lap
  • Top 10 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap

Road Course

  • Group A and Group B will each receive 20 minutes of practice
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – 15-minute timed session
  • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – 15-minute timed session
  • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – 10-minute timed session

Dirt

  • Two 50-minute practice sessions
  • 4 qualifying races determine the field and lineup for the main race; order of qualifying races based on random draw

Extended Practice Weekends

  • Events: Daytona 500, first Atlanta race, Bristol Dirt, WWT Raceway at Gateway, Nashville, fall Phoenix race.
  • One standalone 50-minute practice replaces group practice sessions
  • Qualifying procedure is based on the track type, following the procedures above

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