NASCAR is using a different format to qualify at Auto Club Speedway, which is scheduled to host the first Cup Series race since 2020.
After COVID-19-related restrictions wiped out the 2021 schedule, NASCAR The Cup Series returned to Auto Club Speedway at WISE Power 400 on Sunday afternoon.
This could be the final race on the four-inning, 2.0 mile (3.219 kilometer) oval in Fontana, California, with plans to convert the track to a short half-mile track possibly before 2023. Those plans are still somewhat up in the air.
This weekend also marks the return of a fairly regular playoff format, something the Cup series hasn’t seen since 2019 before the pandemic.
All qualifying sessions were wiped off the schedule in 2020 after the sport returned from an unexpected 10-week hiatus due to pandemic-related restrictions, and they only returned in limited capacity in 2021.
But this weekend’s qualifying formula, which is set to be used for most ovals throughout the rest of the 36-race season, is new for 2022.
The drivers are divided into two groups based on the final standings of the previous race (the individual runners in one group, even the runners in the other group).
In this single car session, each driver will conduct a one-time qualifying round, with the qualifying standings determined by Same scale that was used to set starting formations When qualifying sessions were not held in late 2020 and 2021.
Then the top five drivers in each group will move on to the final round. Each of those 10 remaining drivers will run one more lap of this round, and the fastest qualifier of this round will take first place.
The remaining results from this final round will determine the remaining Top 10 in the starting lineup. Drivers scheduled to start in 11th place and below are determined by the results of the two groups in the first round.
The WISE Power 400 qualification is scheduled to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Auto Club Speedway beginning at 2:35 p.m. ET, and the race itself is scheduled to be broadcast live on Fox starting at 3:30 p.m. ET Tomorrow afternoon. Now would be the time to start your own FuboTV Free Trial!