Sunday’s controversial group qualifying format for the Daytona 500 has NASCAR officials saying they’ll reach out to competitors and others to see what kind of changes can be made.
While many drivers like group qualifying at most tracks, they don’t like it at restrictor-plate tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Sunday was the first time it was used with Daytona 500 qualifying.
Clint Bowyer blasted the format after he was involved in a crash with Reed Sorenson during the first round of qualifying. Other drivers said the format needed to be changed.
Michael Waltrip, who is driving the No. 55 car for Brian Vickers at Daytona, offered a suggestion on Twitter on how to set the starting lineups at restrictor-plate events – heat races.
During the media tour in January, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, was asked about the possibility of heat races.
“I think it is still something that is on the table for the future,’’ O’Donnell said. “We just thought with everything going on in the sport with the Chase, with this just being its second year, (and) with the rules package, we wanted to let that play out for this year.
“There is certainly dialogue going on in NASCAR and in the industry looking at race formats and looking at what may continue to grow the sport. That is something that we’re exploring.’’
Could heat races be the right format to use when the series heads to Talladega in May?