NASCAR throws the flag on trying to liven up qualifying

Photo: NASCAR / MGN
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR has dropped its fight to add excitement value to qualifying and will return to single-car laps after the current format became a laughingstock.

All three NASCAR national series will return to single-car qualifying at all oval tracks starting this weekend at Dover. NASCAR for more than five years has used a group qualifying format, but a new rules package this season created an unintended consequence: drivers could game the system.

Most waited until the very last moment to pull off pit lane for their qualifying run; all 12 drivers in the final round at California in March missed the cutoff point to even register a lap. NASCAR was adamant it was trying to keep qualifying entertaining for fans because single-car runs are tedious, but teams continued to find loopholes that made the format a farce.

In Wednesday's rule change, elimination-style rounds were also cut.