NASCAR changed how the starting lineup is set for Las Vegas

The starting lineup was set for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway using a slightly different method than that which was used in past years.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race, the Pennzoil 400, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway took place on Saturday afternoon, and behind the wheel of a Pennzoil-sponsored No. 22 Ford, Team Penske's Joey Logano took the pole position. A full starting lineup can be found here.

This 267-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Las Vegas, Nevada oval is not a superspeedway race like the season's first two races at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, so NASCAR used group qualifying format to set the starting lineup. This is not a change from past seasons.

The qualifying order for the two groups was determined by the metric/formula (full explanation here), which is also not a change, and the fastest five drivers in each group advance to the 10-driver shootout for the pole position. Nothing about this part of the format has changed.

NASCAR makes slight change to qualifying format

What has changed is how the starting lineup is determined for the rest of the field, starting with row six.

In the past, the results of the two groups have been combined to determine which drivers fill out position 11 through the back of the grid. Now, the results of the first group determine which cars line up on the outside lane and the results of the second group determine which cars line up on the inside lane.

This change, which was confirmed over the offseason, was made because of the fact that the track conditions tend to be different in the first group vs. the second group. Rather than simply ranking everyone on speed, NASCAR is now ranking everyone individually within each group and then lining up the two groups side-by-side on race day.

In the past, a driver could end up in sixth place in his group and just miss out on the round two shootout, yet he could end up qualifying in 18th or 19th place. That is no longer the case.

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The Pennzoil 400 is set to be shown live on Fox from Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday afternoon. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!

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