Practice and Qualifying to Return to NASCAR Events in 2022

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Daytona Beach, FL — November 19, 2021

NASCAR today announced the return of practice and qualifying to its race weekends in 2022, with a dramatic knockout-style qualifying format setting the starting lineup for each NASCAR Cup Series race.

Lasco Press Photo

The announcement comes after nearly two seasons with race weekends largely held without practice or qualifying – a procedure born out of necessity to reduce travel days and on-site personnel while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, all events across all three NASCAR national series are scheduled to include qualifying.

“NASCAR is excited to return practice and qualifying to its race weekends,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We missed seeing cars and trucks on track all weekend long, and so did our fans. We worked closely with our broadcast partners, teams, and racetracks to create an exciting, unique qualifying format while keeping several of the efficiencies that helped our entire industry successfully navigate the pandemic.”

Qualifying Groups

For a majority of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, the field will be split into two groups and participate in a practice and qualifying event that will last approximately two hours. The two-hour window will allow broadcast partners ample time and ability to cover the entire field, bringing wide-ranging, in-depth stories and insight to millions of fans each and every weekend.

During six NASCAR Cup Series weekends, five NASCAR Xfinity Series weekends and eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekends, NASCAR will implement an extended practice weekend schedule, which will feature one standalone 50-minute practice as well as a qualifying event.

Daytona International Speedway’s Speedweeks and the lead-up to the DAYTONA 500 will employ the extended practice format for all three series. Busch Pole Award Qualifying for the DAYTONA 500 is scheduled for Wednesday evening, Feb. 16, 2022.

NASCAR Cup Series

 Oval Qualifying

  • Group A and Group B will each receive 15 minutes of practice
    • Groups set by odd/even finishing order of previous race
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – single car, one lap*
    • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – single car, one lap*
    • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap*

* — Two laps at Bristol, Dover, Martinsville, and Richmond

Superspeedways

  • Qualifying Round 1 (all cars) – single car, one lap
    • Top 10 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – single car, one lap

 Road Course

  • Group A and Group B will each receive 20 minutes of practice
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group A) – 15-minute timed session
    • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Group B) – 15-minute timed session
    • Top 5 transfer to Final Round
  • Qualifying Final Round (10 cars) – 10-minute timed session

 Dirt

  • Two 50-minute practice sessions
  • 4 qualifying races determine the field and lineup for the main race; order of qualifying races based on a random draw

 Extended Practice Weekends

  • Events: Daytona 500, Atlanta-1, Bristol Dirt, WWT Raceway at Gateway, Nashville, Phoenix-2
  • One standalone 50-minute practice replaces group practice sessions
  • Qualifying procedure is based on the track type, following the procedures above

The timing of the announcement is welcome news for drivers and teams as the Next-Gen car is going to need a lot of work with its introduction to the Cup Series in 2022. Practice will speed up the development of the new model as teams become more familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the race car setup.

Expect the competition to change as teams will now have the opportunity to fine-tune race day calibrations prior to the drop of the green flag. Allowing crews a more complete set of adjustments than can be completed during a pit stop.