Qualifying for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams at Richmond will now feature three five-minute rounds NASCAR announced Thursday.
The first two rounds had been 10 minutes in length, but NASCAR said in its memo to race teams that the change was “in an effort to improve the quality of our qualifying broadcast.”
Per NASCAR, the changes — which are only for the Cup Series — are not permanent and will be for this weekend only. Discussions are ongoing about additional changes.
Qualifying for the Toyota Owners 400 is scheduled to take place Friday evening.
The sport has been fighting issues with qualifying much of the season. With the new aero package, no driver has wanted to be the one leading the way on the larger tracks to provide a draft to the competition. That led to none of the final 12 drivers getting a timed lap in at Fontana.
NASCAR has also been unhappy about drivers blocking pit road or sitting at the exit of pit road as the clock winds down until the final minutes, with the track left empty as a result.