LAS VEGAS — The new style of qualifying for NASCAR Sprint Cup races is exciting — too exciting in view of some drivers.
But a byproduct of the format is that drivers circled the 1.5-mile speedway Friday at vastly different speeds, setting up a possibly dangerous situation if the cars collided.
While some drivers approached 200 mph while setting their qualifying laps, others were traveling less than half that speed on the track's inside apron to cool their engines before making another qualifying run.
"I really hope that NASCAR looks at that," said
Logano agreed "it gets crazy out there" but said "it's way cooler than the old style of qualifying" that involved a single car circling the track at a time.
Logano captured the first starting spot with a lap of 193.278 mph in his No. 22
Under NASCAR's new format, tracks 1.25 miles and longer have three elimination sessions for qualifying and tracks shorter than 1.25 miles have two sessions.
So on Friday, the entire 43-car field had a 25-minute window to post qualifying times in the first round, and the 24 fastest drivers then advanced to a 10-minute second round.
The 12 fastest drivers in the second round then moved to the final, five-minute session in which Logano set his pole-winning lap.
During qualifying, crews tape up the cars' air intakes to achieve the maximum "downforce" that makes the cars go faster.
But the maneuver also makes the cars' engines very hot. That's why the drivers cruise around at reduced speeds to cool the engines before making their next qualifying run.
Some drivers have suggested that NASCAR can ease the danger by allowing crews to use external devices that would cool the engines while the cars are on pit road.
Among the drivers who advanced to the second session but didn't reach the final session included
Among the drivers who were too slow to advance past the first session were defending race winner