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Practice and qualifying will return to NASCAR’s national series in 2022, NASCAR announced Nov. 19.
Though the formats of each session will vary by track and series, NASCAR plans to hold practice and qualifying for all of its races in 2022.
“NASCAR is excited to return practice and qualifying to its race weekends,” Scott Miller, NASCAR svp, competition, said in a release. “We missed seeing cars and trucks on track all weekend long, and so did our fans. We worked closely with our broadcast partners, teams and racetracks to create an exciting, unique qualifying format, while keeping several of the efficiencies that helped our entire industry successfully navigate the pandemic.”
The majority of weekends in the NASCAR Cup Series will feature a 15-minute practice session, separating the series into two groups. Single-car, one-lap qualifying sessions, also split into two groups, will follow, with the fastest five from each session moving on to a final round to decide the pole (also one car and one lap).
At shorter tracks Bristol Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Dover International Speedway, the same will occur except cars will have two laps to qualify.
At superspeedways (Daytona International Speedway, minus the Daytona 500, and Talladega Superspeedway), all entries will compete in the same one-lap qualifying session, with the top 10 transferring to the final round.
Road courses will feature a 20-minute practice session, followed by a pair of 15-minute qualifying groups, with the usual top five transfers.
The Daytona 500 and Bristol dirt races will keep their usual formats.
The Xfinity and Camping World Truck series largely follow the same formats, except for 20-minute practices at most tracks instead of 15.
Finally, certain weekends (called “expanded weekends”) will include 50-minute practice sessions for their respective series rather than one 10- or 20-minute bout. Those weekends include the season openers and finales for all series, plus Nashville Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway (all series), Bristol dirt (Cup, Truck), Portland International Raceway (Xfinity), World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup), Knoxville Raceway (Truck) and Sonoma Raceway (Truck).
A full breakdown of each weekend can be found here.
The changes come following a mostly practice- and qualifying-less 2020 and 2021 in NASCAR due to changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, with sessions not held at most weekends.
NASCAR has not yet announced if field size changes in the Xfinity and Truck series due to the lack of practice and qualifying will go back to their normal levels for all races in 2022.
About the author
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.