New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Jerry Gappens Wanted Alternative NASCAR Qualifying Format

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.

NHMS Sign“I applaud NASCAR’s willingness to try something new to make qualifying more compelling for our fans. This new format will certainly enhance the pole day experience trackside.

“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.”

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  1. Jerry thanks for trying! Tell NASCAR take a look as short track racing and remind them young fans and older fans like fast and furious; a four hour race is boring to them. You idea of making qualifying day exciting is the way some short tracks have been doing it for years. Take a way the premadonna status . Every drive must race their way in, no provisionals or promoter prefferance you race your way in each and every week. Shorter races or twin segments make it more exciting. NOW THIS WOULD REALLY MAKE IT WITH THE FANS high point drivers start at the back after qualifying. WARNING if you mention this to NASCAR be ready to run with you bags packed. Really appreciate you efforts: been in this sport 48 years and still loving it!

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