Thursday, NASCAR told drivers that there is discussion about changing qualifying for next season. It would be changed from single car qualifying to group qualifying that is comparable to what they do for road courses now. Cars would be set in a predetermined number of groups based on their practice speeds. Each group will have a certain number of laps and the best lap time will go on the record. Positions will be assigned from these recorded lap times.
This is a fantastic idea! I have seen this type of qualifying this past summer at an Indycar race. NASCAR should definitely adopt this change. Qualifying is more enjoyable when its done in groups as opposed to single car. The idea of having a series of small “races” will draw fans into going for the whole weekend instead of just the races. It will make it more exciting to watch these groups compete for their starting positions. At this point in the game, anything to up the fan experience will benefit NASCAR. Race weekend is a great experience that all fans, new and old, should experience. This will help get them to the track to partake in ALL the prerace events.
This is not the only change NASACAR proposed for the 2014 season. Drivers will have to take a preseason concussion test next year. This will give the doctors a look at a healthy view of their brain to compare to a post accident image. The comparison will help them determine the extent of the concussion and/or damage done. This was encouraged in the past, but not mandatory.
This should have been done years ago! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Safety of these drivers should always be number one. They put their lives on the line every time they get into that drivers seat. These kinds of procedures should definitely be in place to help assess them after each accident. Letting a driver continue to race could be detrimental to them and the other drivers on the track. I am on board with 100% anything that will help the health and wellbeing of these drivers.
The final thing discussed was the improvements on the Sprint Cup Series car. This is an ever-changing discussion. Each year the cars have new and improved features. There has already been a test run with six improved cars representing the different manufacturers on October 14th, with another on set for December 9th. Most changes are going to be with aerodynamic elements. Using wind tunnels and computer simulation, they teams and engineers have been able to eliminate those elements that are not working and improve on those that are. Some of these include static ride height, vents in the rear fascia, a larger rear spoiler, a strip on the roof, and a stepped-down front splitter.
Each season of NASCAR has made improvements to the sport, as they should. The three that were discussed seem to be taking them in a good direction for 2014. The improvements for fans, drivers safety, and the cars themselves are all great strides for NASCAR. I look forward to seeing these all in effect next year, but I do hope to see a few more changes made to draw in crowds though. I think more improvements geared toward fan experience need to happen. One being a schedule change in 2015 needs to happen for sure, as I wrote last week.
What are some things you think need to change to improve the sport?