NASCAR on Wednesday officially unveiled its qualifying format changes for 2014, switching to a group "knockout" qualifying process in all three of its national series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
Each driver entered in each race will take to the track during the opening qualifying round, going out in a randomly selected order. Either two rounds of qualifying or three will be used depending on the size of the track until a final group composed of the 12 fastest drivers remain.
Those 12 will determine who wins the pole. The 12 drivers in the final group will start 1-12 in the race.
The practical effect will be to see almost mini-races.
“This style of group qualifying has all the makings of being highly competitive and more engaging to our fans in the stands and those watching on television and online," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition.
Nationwide and Truck teams will use the new format next month at Daytona but the Cup series will retain its traditional qualifying format for the Daytona 500. The Truck series will retain its heat-race format for its annual stop at Eldora Speedway.
Although NASCAR considered the idea, it will not award points to series pole winners.