Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Qualifying becomes even more important

This upcoming season features many situations we haven't seen in NASCAR for a long time. Foremost is the number of teams that will be attempting to qualify for each race. With the introduction of Toyota and the accompaning new teams, Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing, as well as the "regular" multi-car teams, we are going to see qualifying become a very important matter for more full-time teams than the forty-three allowed in each race. We have already seen, from last year, instances in which fans' favorites such as Robby Gordon, Scott Riggs, and Michael Waltrip have failed to qualify. This effect will be more pronounced in 2007. The all important thirty-fifth position provisional cutoff will become even more important.
I don't think we will see as many drivers going for that second qualifying lap to try to better their position, unless they are on the bubble. Even with a guaranteed starting position, it would be disasterous for anybody to wreck a car during qualifying, because starting in the back would jeapardize any provisional start in future races. Fans of such drivers as Robby Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Joe Nemecheck, Brian Vickers, Ward Burton, or Michael Waltrip may be disappointed that their driver may not be able to start every race he in which he is entered. This is not only because of the added teams, but the qualifying capability of such limited-shot drivers as Kirk Shelmerdine and Carl Long.
All this means that there will probably be more tickets sold for qualifying day, and television ratings for qualification will rise. Remember that NASCAR was founded as a money making enterprise, and the number of teams trying to qualify for each race will advance that enterprise.

1 comment:

Gvav1 said...

The dynamic has certainly changed, at least early in the season many drivers will go home disappointed!