New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens is on board with NASCAR’s changes to national series qualifying announced Wednesday, though he had hoped the sanctioning body would have gone in a different direction.
“When NASCAR officials were looking for input a couple of months ago, my recommendation and preference were twin qualifying races to promote passing and risk-taking during the qualifying process. The top five from each qualifying race would advance to a 20-lap (depending on size of track) “Dash for Cash” that paid $100,000 to the winner and set the first 10 spots based on finishing order. Finishing positions sixth to 16th in each qualifying race would start 11th through 32nd for the main race. All remaining cars would run a “Last Chance Race” on race day and the top 11 finishers would fill out the field. Regardless of the number of entries, everyone would have an opportunity to race on race day in front of their fans and sponsors.
“However, today’s announcement is a positive step in the direction we need to go to create compelling on-track action all weekend. It will be interesting to watch what strategies teams utilize to get the best starting spot they can.”