Yes, it’s official, NASCAR qualifying sucks.
I’ve spent years actually watching NASCAR qualifying, and it used to be quite interesting, but these days with the top 35 locked in to the field it has become and absolute joke, and it has never been more so than at todays qualifying at Daytona for the Pepsi 400.
You have to feel for Boris Said, he did everything he could possibly do. He has put together the best possible deal he could to get himself into a competitive car, and with the might of the Roush/Fenway organization behind him in qualifying he was set to hold on to the pole, but the one thing that could stop him did, the weather.
Weather or not, NASCAR needs to look at their qualifying formula. Even Formula One revised their qualifying procedures, and they have managed to inject quite a bit of life into the qualifying sessions (although I will never agree with the fuel economy run in Q3), but NASCAR, who gets almost everything else right, has screwed up.
My beef with NASCAR is not because they are locking in the top 35, they can lock in as many as they like as far as I am concerned, but more with the way they qualify everyone else. NASCAR is king of putting on a show for the fans, and what better show could they have than staging a runoff competition between all the "go or go home" cars. With the qualifying draw procedure NASCAR uses right now a huge advantage can be gained by some of the go or go homers, depending on what number they draw. It only seems logical and sensible to let those go or go home drivers draw and run amongst themselves. Let them qualify one after another, either before the top 35, or after the top 35, it doesn’t matter. That way we would have the yawn of the top 35 qualifying and the endless nonsense interviews with drivers saying they do not care about qualifying, but we would also have the shootout between those that need to get in on time running one after another on the track, which would not only make a great show, but the average fan would be able to understand what is going on, unlike now.
As we have seen today, the qualifying for the top 35, especially on tracks like Daytona is absolutely meaningless, and to see Jeff Gordon’s team go into qualifying with a car in race trim and run as slowly as he did, and then to end up on pole is crazy. I understand that NASCAR must figure out some way to deal with washed out qualifying, but I don’t think this is it.
NASCAR does not get too many things wrong, but with this they have got it completely wrong.
Let’s hear your views on this one.