Yeah, that’s a confusing headline. Let me explain.
Qualifying on 1.5-mile tracks with the air ducts is going to be wild. Guys are laying back to get big drafts, the leader board is changing faster Jussie Smollet’s story. It’s chaos.
In the final round of qualifying drivers have 5 minutes to put a lap in. Naturally all 12 drivers sat on pit road until about a minute and thirty seconds remained and then it was a mad dash off pit road like a Mad Max film. No one wanted to be first because then you’d get no draft.
As everyone followed in a line around the track cars with bigger runs obviously shot to the top. Kevin Harvick was the beneficiary of one of those huge runs and shot to the top of the chart.
Harvick’s time only lasted for a few seconds until Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott shot to the top. Unfortunately NASCAR said they didn’t beat the clock to the start finish line to get their second lap in. To which Alex Bowman called “bullshit” after the session and he’s not wrong. NASCAR says they go off the flag and not the clock and the #88 missed it by .5 second.
However neither Harvick or the Bowman/Elliott duo were the fastest car in qualifying. Austin Dillon was the consensus fastest car on pit road. Yet he qualified 4th. After the session was over Harvick said “the fastest car qualified 4th.”
NASCAR’s group qualifying with this package is highly entertaining. Drivers seemed to hate it but drivers hate anything new for the most part. It will be interesting to see how this plays at Texas.
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