Something doesn’t seem fair about this.
NASCAR has experimented with two-day Cup weekends this year at select tracks. This weekend at Martinsville is one of those weekends. Practice will take place on Saturday and qualifying will take place Sunday at noon, three hours before the race.
Because of the late qualifying on Sunday pit selections are based off last week’s qualifying results at Kansas. That right there is what NASCAR can’t allow. The unfairness of this rule is preposterous. Rewarding a 1.5-mile pole winner with the coveted #1 spot at Martinsville is perplexing.
Martin Truex Jr. won the pole at Kansas last Friday. A great accomplishment for him and an unsurprising one considering the #78 teams speed on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Winning the pole allowed him to start up front and rewarded him with the first pit stall off pit road. That’s fine and dandy, how it has always been done.
What isn’t fine and dandy is handing Truex the #1 spot at Martinsville this weekend regardless of where he qualifies on Sunday. A flat .5-mile track is not the same as Kansas. If this race was at Kentucky, then fine. Maybe it’s a little easier to swallow. However giving Truex the first box on pit road is good for multiple spots each pit stop. It’s an unfair advantage.
The pole winner at Martinsville doesn’t get the first pit box in Texas. He merely gets to start at the front on Sunday.
Why Is It Like This?
NASCAR has said that teams don’t have enough time to move their pit boxes into place after Sunday qualifying. The time window between the end of qualifying (1-1:15pm) and the start of the race (3ish pm) isn’t enough time to move the box into place.
Now it is more than moving the pit box. Setting up a pit box in the Cup series can take a fair amount of time. Usually a little over an hour and you need to make sure the internet works, the box has power and everything is ready to go.
That’s NASCAR’s justification for the way this weekend schedule works.
Change The Schedule
Run qualifying at 10:30 or 11 am and move the entire schedule up. That way teams have enough time to move their boxes into place and the winner of the pole gets to reap all the benefits of winning the pole. Essentially winning the pole at Martinsville this weekend is only good for starting up front. While that is key and track position is king at Martinsville that first box is crucial to success.
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