What Is Qualifying in NASCAR?


Quick Answer

NASCAR qualifying is the process that determines the placement of cars in the starting grid. Forty-three Sprint Cup Series drivers race over one to three rounds to set the starting order. The starting grid is set in groups. The number of qualifying rounds is based on the track's length.

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What Is Qualifying in NASCAR?
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Full Answer

For tracks of more than 1.25 miles in length, three rounds are conducted. In the first round, cars are ranked 1 to 43 based on the driver's best lap time. The first 24 vehicles move into the second round while the others are placed 25th through 43rd on the grid. The 12 cars with the fastest laps in the second round move into the third round with the bottom 12 placed 13th through 24th on the grid. The final 12 cars are slotted from first through 12th based on lap time.

Two qualifying rounds are conducted on tracks of less than 1.25 miles. The best 12 racers, based on lap time in the first round, advance to the second round while the remainder are placed 13th through 43th. Second-round drivers determine first through 12th position through their best lap time in the round.

The group format was instituted by NASCAR in 2014 in an effort to build fan interest at the track and on television.

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