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NASCAR reportedly mulls major change in qualifying format

October 24, 2013|By Jim Peltz

NASCAR reportedly is looking at possibly eliminating its format of having one car qualify at a time when setting the starting grid.

The potential change was one of several topics NASCAR officials discussed Thursday with drivers of NASCAR's three national series at its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the Associated Press reported.

Among the ideas for a new qualifying format is a group procedure that involves several cars on the track simultaneously.

That format was used this year on the two twisting road courses in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series -- at Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen, N.Y. -- to determine each driver's qualifying speed and set the 43-car field.

NASCAR is mulling whether to use that procedure everywhere except Daytona and Talladega, where NASCAR caps the cars' speeds and the drivers draft together in tightly bunched packs.

At those two tracks, the field likely would be set with an "open qualifying session" that would allow for a 60-minute drafting session, the AP quoted NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp as saying.

"We just talked about some ideas that would make things more interesting" in qualifying, Tharp said.

Separately, NASCAR said it would mandate preseason neurocognitive testing of all its drivers next year as part of its effort to prevent and manage concussions.

The test would give doctors "a snapshot of an athlete's brain function while in a healthy state" so that they can "use that baseline to compare to post-concussion tests" when evaluating possible injuries, NASCAR said.


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