NASCAR has announced a change to next month’s schedule for Cup teams at Richmond Raceway. Inspection after qualifying will be moved from Friday night to Saturday, the day of the playoff race.
That means that the results from Friday’s qualifying session won’t be official until the next day.
After qualifying, all cars will be impounded and inspected the next day. Any car that fails inspection, which will serve as post-qualifying/prerace inspection, will have its qualifying time disallowed and start at the rear. There will be no pre-qualifying inspection.
NASCAR has inspected cars this way two other times this season, doing it at Pocono in July and Watkins Glen in August. At Pocono, 13 teams – including both cars on the front row – lost their starting spot after failing inspection the day after qualifying. At Watkins Glen, two cars failed inspection the day after qualifying and lost their starting spot.
NASCAR will have a similar schedule at three of the remaining 12 races: Indianapolis, Richmond and Martinsville.
At each of those events, Cup teams are on site two days. At Indianapolis, Cup qualifying is after the Xfinity race. At Richmond, Cup qualifying will be before the Xfinity race. At Martinsville, Cup qualifying will be after the Camping World Truck Series race.
By moving inspection to the next day (the day of the race), NASCAR can limit how long crews, including NASCAR officials, are at the track the day of qualifying. It takes around 2 hours, 30 minutes to inspect a Cup field. That can be longer if many cars fail and have to go through inspection more than once.
Such schedules also allow teams more time to work on their cars after final practice instead of having a limited amount of time before needing to get in line for inspection before qualifying.