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Aside from being a three-time NASCAR champion, Tony Stewart has also become known as one of the sports most outspoken drivers. Stewart is never afraid to speak his mind especially if he feels strongly about a certain topic. This past week Stewart was a guest on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio and the topic of qualifying came up in relation to the Daytona 500.
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Stewart was forthcoming with his feelings on the new qualifying format especially as it pertains to restrictor-plate tracks.
"To be perfectly honest, I am not a big fan of that.It’s exciting to watch, but the thing that most don’t realize is that, first of all, you’re trying to be the last guy to come out. Once those guys in the back get that run and make that first lap, the last thing they want to do is go ahead and run that next lap full throttle and give the guys they just passed the same opportunity. So what you have is guys dumping out of the throttle and closing rates that are not good at all. You can’t hardly see through the guy in front of you. If somebody does something three or four cars up there and your spotter can’t tell you about, it has a lot of potential to be, you know, bad."
Stewart went on to further his stance that he does love the new format but just not at Daytona and Talladega.
"It’s qualifying. We have enough trouble wrecking cars at restrictor-plate tracks as it is. I do like the idea that it’s traditional as far as locking in the front row. I think that is something that is important. I think there’s ways that maybe in the future NASCAR could do it a little different.I think all in all the whole qualifying format for the year was awesome. I thought that was one of the best changes and one of the easiest changes NASCAR had to make. It was a really, really good decision on their part. It brings a lot of excitement on Friday; I’m just not crazy about it at Daytona and Talladega."
Stewart-Haas teammate and defending NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick was also on hand and he whole-heartedly agreed with Stewart’s sentiments. Harvick himself acknowledged that the format is “tough” at tracks like Daytona and Talladega but it’s “unbelievable at all of the other tracks.” Stewart and Harvick most likely share the same belief as many other drivers in the garage area given the negative vibe that surrounded qualifying at restrictor-plate tracks in 2014.
What do you think of the new qualifying format when it comes to restrictor-plate tracks? Do you agree with Stewart and Harvick? Be sure to let us know by commenting below or reaching out to us via social media.