NASCAR has announced a new rule change for the 2019 season and it has to do with qualifying procedure. While NASCAR used to allow drivers to speed off of pit road to start their timed lap, they will now be required to go pit road speed or will have to come back to pit road before becoming eligible to make a lap.
Furthermore, if a driver is a caught speeding on pit road after their qualifying laps, their previous times will be disallowed and will have to make another run to make that rounds cut. NASCAR.com has also confirmed that pit road speed for qualifying will be the same as for the weekend’s race.
With that being said and safety being a primary concern for NASCAR in most of their decision making, it makes sense for the sport to ensure the same safety during their qualifying sessions. Unfortunately for drivers caught on the wrong end of this deal however, it could lead to needing to make up a lot of track position on race day.
Take Kyle larson for example, who was caught speeding during a pit stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway a couple of weeks ago, which effectively cost him the race victory and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. Of course Larson is still running in the top ten in points and looks to be poised for a playoff run, but that win at Atlanta would have sped up the process a lot.
Interestingly enough, track position has already proven to be a necessity with the new aero package making it hard to pass and now teams must factor in this new rule as well. In the end, NASCAR officials will start enforcing the new rule this weekend at Auto Club speedway and will presumably be used across NASCAR’s top three series.