NASCAR Bans Qualifying Cool Down Laps

There have been growing concerns from NASCAR drivers over the past couple of race weekends regarding qualifying cool down laps. The practice used by some teams sees drivers running laps at slow pace which cool the engine and help with milage. However the difference in pace on track is clearly a danger, particularly on ovals, and as such NASCAR are modifying its new knockout qualifying format.

The change comes just after last weekends race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, when Reed Sorenson nearly made contact with the slow-paced Brian Vickers. Speaking to Fox Sports 1, Vickers says the tactic used by some drivers is “the most dangerous thing” he’s ever seen done in a race car, calling on the sanctioning body to make changes.

“We’ve got to [ride around the bottom], it’s the only way to keep the engine cool,” says Vickers. “But that has got to be the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in racing. The 36 (car) went by me at 170 mph faster than I was going. Had he slipped or hit me, I’d be done. It would be so bad.” 

We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport

As such, NASCAR are now allowing teams to cool their cars using cooling systems attached to their engines through flaps on their hoods, which must remain closed as adjustments are not allowed, with two crewman also being allowed over the wall. NASCAR say the new qualifying format “is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects.”

“Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”

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