Well, the NASCAR offseason is nearly over! Cars are on the track this weekend and NASCAR has infused some exciting changes into the sport! Here are three things to know around the sport going into this weekend!
New Qualifying Format Breeding Excitement
NASCAR will introduce a new qualifying structure this season for all three national series. The new format will consist of multiple rounds with the faster cars in each timed session advancing to the subsequent rounds.
"I think it's an exciting time for us and I'm excited that NASCAR is thinking outside the box," Tony Stewart said during the Sprint Media Tour Hosted By Charlotte Motor Speedway. "They don't sit on their hands and say what we have is good enough. They've always trying to figure out how to make it better. The qualifying format is a perfect example."
There will be three rounds of qualifying at tracks 1.25-miles or longer with two rounds at tracks shorter than 1.25 miles.
For a full breakdown of NASCAR's new qualifying structure, click here.
New Chase Format Places Higher Emphasis On Winning
NASCAR has introduced a new format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, making winning more important for drivers and teams than ever before.
"The best team is still going to win the championship or at least be in the best position to win the championship," Jeff Gordon said. "Sometimes you come down to one race and that track may favor a certain driver or certain team. So that's going to be a challenge of course. It's going to challenge the team that has been the best to step up even if it isn't their best track."
The Chase field will be expanded to 16 drivers with the bottom four drivers remaining in the Chase standings eliminated after the third, sixth and ninth races, leaving the top four drivers in the standings to race for the title in the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The top finisher among those four drivers in the season-finale will be crowned champion.
Season Kicks Off With Sprint Unlimited
Rejoice, race fans! Weekends without NASCAR come to an end Feb. 15 with the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona! Some of the biggest names in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the track on in what serves as the first taste of racing for the 2014 NASCAR season.
Fans will again have a say in determining the race's format! Go to www.nascar.com/sprintunlimited to vote on how the field will lineup, the race segment format and the restart order for the race's final segment!