Polesitter Jeff Gordon says qualifying at Talladega is a 'snoozer'
Qualifying at Talladega is deadly dull, Jeff Gordon said Saturday, and NASCAR needs to make it more exciting for fans.
Gordon won the pole for Sunday's Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race during a qualifying session he said was a snoozefest for fans.
"To me that qualifying session was just a snoozer," Gordon said. "I felt like I could walk faster than I was going out there."
Gordon said NASCAR could make it more exciting by using a different restrictor plate so that cars could hit 200 mph. Gordon's pole-winning speed was the slowest ever at Talladega - 178.248 mph.
"It is because we are doing two laps by ourselves doing 177 mph," he said. Winning the pole "had nothing to do with me. Anybody could drive that car at that speed. So let's make it a little more interesting. I don't see why we can't get up there into the 200 mile-per-hour range qualifying."
"I would like to see us qualify faster just to make it more entertaining for the fans as well as for us the drivers," he said. "We're not doing anything out there right now."
The slow speeds - even slower than Nationwide cars qualified at - are because NASCAR reduced the size of the openings in the plates to 7/8ths of an inch. NASCAR did that because with the two-car draft cars might exceed 200 mph during the race.
But it made qualifying dull, said Gordon, who has won six times at Talladega.
"I think that we all have to understand why we are here, why the media is in here," he said of trying to balance what drivers want with what will put fans in the seats. "It is because of the fans at home watching as well as in the grandstands.
"Sometimes it wouldn't make it as much fun inside the car (and) might be a little bit more white-knuckled of an experience. But, at the same time, we have to keep it entertaining," he said. AL.com