For the first time in many seasons, NASCAR will now be returning to their traditional qualifying rules and format to determine will not only make the field at the Daytona 500 but who will make the field at all races.
One of the many changes other than the Generation-6 car NASCAR made this offseason was the elimination of the top-35 rules for qualifying.
For the last few seasons the starting line up was determined by speed with the top-35 being guaranteed a starting position on Sunday’s (and occasionally Saturday’s) race.
This season NASCAR is returning to the original format that made the sport famous for many years. The fastest 36 qualifiers on Friday will make the field for Sunday with the remaining spots will determined by owner points via provisionals. It also includes the return of the champion’s provisional.
John Darby announced the format and qualifying rules for the 2013 Daytona 500:
- The front row, positions 1-2, will go to the two fastest drivers from their qualifying runs on February 17. (Drivers will still race in the Budweiser Duel, but won’t lose their starting positions)
- Positions 3-32 will be set by the finishing order in Budweiser Duel qualifying races on February 21. Drivers who finish in the top 15 in their respective races earn spots in the Daytona 500 and the 16th-place driver gets in as long as one of the top-15 drivers already occupies one of the two front row spots.
- Positions 33-36 will go to the drivers who didn’t make it through the qualifying races but posted the fastest four speeds in qualifying February 17.
- Positions 37-42 will be awarded as provisionals based on 2012 owner points.
- Position 43 will be a past champion’s provisional, going to the most recent past champion not yet in the field. If there is no past champion, then the spot will be filled by the next driver eligible based on 2012 owner points.