League officials announced on Thursday minor changes to the qualifying procedures for the 2017-2018 season.
Starting in 2014-2015, the series moved from a single car qualifying format, which had been used since the league’s first season, to a multiple round, multiple car format. In the first round, all cars entered in the event would have 20 minutes to post their fastest time. From there, the Top-24 would advance to a second, 10 minute round. The Top-12 from round two would then go on to battle out for the pole, in a five minute, third round. This format was used at all tracks last season with the exception of Daytona 500 qualifying, which remained at the single car, two lap format from previous seasons.
Changes for the upcoming season are minor, but are made to further ease the process of qualifying, particularly at Superspeedways, Short Tracks and Road Courses.
At the superspeedways (Daytona, Eight Bowl, Talladega and Rimouski), qualifying will be reduced to two rounds. For round one, two groups of cars, with grouping determined by owners points, will have five minutes each to turn their fastest laps. Round 1 will determine positions 13-40. The top-12 will then advance to round 2 to battle for the pole, in a second, five minute, round.
A similar format will exist for short tracks and road courses. The difference is that all cars can enter the track to turn a lap, as opposed to predetermined groups. The first round will be 15 minutes. The second round, where the Top-12 go for the pole, will remain at 5 minutes.
All other tracks will remain at the 20, 10, 5 minute, three round qualifying sessions.
One caveat will be Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500, which will remain a single car format, but will join the other superspeedways with two rounds of qualifying. For Daytona 500 qualifying, which sets the front row for the Daytona 500 and line ups for the Budweiser Duels at Daytona, cars in round one will complete their qualifying effort one by one until all cars have turned a lap. Unlike past single-car formats, teams will only turn a single lap, instead of two laps as had been used in the past. After the first round of single lap, single car runs, the Top-12 advance to round two, and will repeat the process, with the fastest car taking the Pole, and the second fastest taking the 2nd starting spot for the Daytona 500. Those in odd numbered positions will line up fastest to slowest for Duel 1, while those in even numbered positions line up for Duel 2.