Starting from this weekend’s race in Texas, NASCAR drivers who do not post a lap in qualifying can expect to start from the back of the field.
NASCAR sent out a memo to its teams Monday outlining the new procedures and penalties, which come after all 12 drivers failed to start a timed lap in the final round of qualifying at Fontana two weeks ago.
Group qualifying will remain unchanged, however, drivers who do not start a timed lap before any of the rounds expire will have their previously posted times disallowed and be moved to the rear of the starting lineup. Previously, drivers would fall back on their most recent time posted to determine their starting position.
Additionally, any driver who is not properly accelerating to exit pit road or is slowing down and stopping which impedes other drivers will be subject to having their times disallowed.
“Qualifying is an important element of the race weekend, and NASCAR has worked closely with the teams to implement a procedure that is both fair from a competition perspective and entertaining for our fans,” said NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller.
“Starting this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, we will implement a procedural change that will be in effect for all three national series. We expect the updated procedure to result in a better outcome for drivers, fans and our track and broadcast partners.”
NASCAR will also be providing teams with a map of where drivers can stage (sit on pit road after pulling out of their pit stall). Improper staging, stopping or impeding on pit road or the track, and pit road speed will all be strictly enforced. In Fontana, drivers did not adhere to the guideline of forming two single-file lanes and were spread all across the exit of pit road.