Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Direct Toyota, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Valvoline/ Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, 2023 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

NASCAR: New qualifying procedures for the Cup Series in 2024.

Qualifying procedures for the NASCAR Cup Series will receive an adjustment in 2024, officials revealed Tuesday at the sanctioning body’s Research & Development Center.

Each race’s 36-plus entrants will continue to be split into two groups for time-trial qualification, with the fastest five drivers from each group advancing to the pole round and setting the top 10 starting positions for the main event. That hasn’t changed. What will change is the manner in which positions 11-40 are determined.

Previously, the cars that finished outside the top five in the two groups were seeded 11-40 based on their fastest qualifying lap, regardless of which group the drivers were in.

Beginning in 2024 – and with the exception of the Daytona 500, which has its own unique qualifying procedure – cars that do not advance from Group A will determine the outside row for starting positions 11-40, while the remaining cars from Group B will determine the inside row.

For superspeedways, there will be no groups during qualifying procedures. There will be two rounds, with the fastest 10 drivers advancing from the first round and the best time from Round 2 taking the pole.

Officials landed upon this alteration after feedback from the industry. Because track conditions can change throughout the course of a qualifying session, the goal of defining what row a driver may start from is to limit those possible variances.

Group assignments will continue to be determined by performance metrics, a total number based on the previous event: 15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race finish position and 35% of the owner points position, according to the NASCAR Rule Book. Any vehicles entered with a different driver for the event than the previous race, per the rule book, will have its driver-based numbers (fastest lap and finish position) set at 41. Driver metrics are not transferable to another vehicle.

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