Earlier this week NASCAR announced that it was going to make some modifications to its new qualifying format. This was done after two weeks of drivers expressing concerns that the new format could potentially be dangerous. The fact that NASCAR decided to make the changes prior to there being any sort of a incident is something that should be applauded for. Some current drivers made their thoughts about the changes and NASCAR’s efforts known.
MRN.com was able to catch up with a couple of drivers who were thrilled that NASCAR made these changes. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 machine had this to say:
It will be a lot less stressful. It will be less confusing. All the cars on the race track are actually making at-speed laps and trying to improve their position and get to the next round.
Clint Bowyer who almost collided with Dale Earnhardt Jr. during qualifying last week in Las Vegas is also happy that NASCAR made the change.
We’re out there running 200 miles an hour and they’re running 40. They couldn’t get out of the way if they had to. Now that you can cool off, I can go out there and make several laps if I need to. I think it will enhance that entertainment even more.
NASCAR does indeed deserve to be applauded for making this change. This shows that they respect the feedback of the sports drivers and that they are dedicated to making sure things are as safe as possible. In all honesty, cars running “cool down” laps was taking away from the process. If a fan is tuning into qualifying to see their favorite driver, the last thing they want to see is that driver cruising around at 40 MPH to cool their engine.
This week in Bristol will be the first time that NASCAR allows for the cooling to take place during pit road. The concern for drivers doing anything else to their cars besides cooling them might still exist. However, the positives of this move far outweigh the negatives. Plus you would have to imagine that if a team were to try to do something to their car aside from cooling it, NASCAR would drop the proverbial hammer on them.
Source: Dustin Long, MRN