Monday, February 05, 2007

And people think F1 qualifying is complicated...

From the Speed Channel website:

"Daytona 500 qualifying is far and away the most complicated of any Nextel Cup race. Here’s how it works: Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 is Sunday, Feb. 11. All the cars entered in the 500 will take two laps around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway tri-oval in an attempt to win the pole for the race on Feb. 18. But unlike a traditional Nextel Cup race, Daytona 500 qualifying only sets the top two positions.

Positions 3-39 will go to the top 35 in 2006 owner points and the two highest finishers in each of the Daytona Duel 150 qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 15. Positions 40-42 in the Daytona 500 field will go to the fastest qualifiers who don’t make it in via the Duels, while the 43rd and final position is reserved for either a past champion, or the next fastest qualifier."

So many questions... The likelihood is that the top two spots will go to cars that were in the top 35 of 2006 owner points. That leaves 33 cars to take positions 3-39, leaving four spots for those winners and runners-up in each of the Duel races. But what if the top two positions of the pole qualifying are not from the top 35 of 2006 owners points? You now have to cram all 35 of those cars into positions 3-39, leaving only two open spots. So what happens to the second-placed cars from each of the duels? Are they S.O.L.? Does it then go back to qualifying times from the Pole Qualifying, like it says above? To me it looks like you could come second in a Duel, but have a slightly iffy Pole Qualifying time and not make it into the race.

Can a NASCAR expert illuminate the situation for me?

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