NASCAR may change the way it sets the starting lineup for its races when the playoffs start at Darlington in September.
Since the series returned after taking a break at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, it's used a random draw to assign positions in lieu of qualifying at every race except for the Coca-Cola 600. This has helped to reduce the number of people required and time spent at the track.
The current method uses the finishing order from the previous race and breaks it up into three groups of chartered teams from positions 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36 then randomizes each for the start of the next event. Slots 37-40 are reserved for non-chartered teams.
However, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that if the restrictive environment continues into the playoffs, drivers vying for the title may get an advantage.
“We’re kind of reviewing now what would be the right thing to do in the playoffs if we can’t have qualifying,” Miller said. “Maybe still some kind of a draw, but obviously, probably something that encompasses the playoff cars in one lot and the rest of the field in another. Haven’t really gotten there yet, but we know that once the playoffs come we may have to adjust the way we draw if we aren’t practicing and qualifying.”
So it's very possible that positions 1-16 will be reserved for the playoff drivers if there's no conventional qualifying, which has been ruled out at least through the Dover race weekend of Aug. 21-23.