New practice/qualifying format to begin this weekend in Fontana

This season, NASCAR has announced the return of practice and qualifying to its race weekends, with a dramatic knockout-style qualifying format setting the starting lineup for each NASCAR Cup Series race.

The announcement comes after nearly two seasons with race weekends largely held without practice or qualifying – a procedure born out of necessity to reduce travel days and on-site personnel while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, all events across all three NASCAR national series are scheduled to include qualifying.

“NASCAR is excited to return practice and qualifying to its race weekends,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We missed seeing cars and trucks on track all weekend long, and so did our fans. We worked closely with our broadcast partners, teams and racetracks to create an exciting, unique qualifying format, while keeping several of the efficiencies that helped our entire industry successfully navigate the pandemic.”

For a majority of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, the field will be split into two groups and participate in a practice and qualifying event that will last approximately two hours. The two-hour window will allow broadcast partners ample time and ability to cover the entire field, bringing wide-ranging, in-depth stories and insight to millions of fans each and every weekend.

During six NASCAR Cup Series weekends, five NASCAR Xfinity Series weekends and eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekends, NASCAR will implement an extended practice weekend schedule, which will feature one standalone 50-minute practice as well as a qualifying event.

Below is the format for the NASCAR Cup Series this season. 

Oval Qualifying

  1. Group A and Group B will each receive 15 minutes of practice
    1. Groups set by odd/even finishing order of previous race
  2. Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – single car, one lap*
    1. Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  3. Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – single car, one lap*
    1. Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  4. Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap*

* — Two laps at Bristol, Dover, Martinsville and Richmond

Superspeedways

  1. Qualifying Round 1 (all cars) – single car, one lap
    1. Top 10 transfer to Final Round
  2. Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap

Road Course

  1. Group A and Group B will each receive 20 minutes of practice
  2. Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – 15-minute timed session
    1. Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  3. Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – 15-minute timed session
    1. Top 5 transfer to Final Round

Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – 10-minute timed session

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