The NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series utilize a new qualifying metrics procedure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The performance-metrics formula blends season-long performance with the previous week’s results to establish the starting lineup and pit-stall selection for the upcoming race.
This formula includes: 15% of a fastest-lap time position based on laps run in the previous race, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race position and 35% of the owner points position. Any ties will be broken per the Rule Book.
The field size for the Cup Series is 40 cars, including 36 Chartered teams and four Open teams. For the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, 36 cars when qualifying is held and 40 cars if qualifying is canceled or if it is not scheduled to be held.
In 2021, eight of the 36 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series events were scheduled to hold practice and qualifying sessions:
• Feb. 14: Daytona 500
• March 28: Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track
• May 23: Circuit of The Americas
• May 30: Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway
• June 20: Nashville Superspeedway
• July 4: Road America
• Aug. 15: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
• Nov. 7: Phoenix Raceway
Qualifying sessions at tracks 1.25 miles or less in length consist of two timed laps per driver. Vehicles will be lined up and released based on random draw. The top-20 qualifying owners from the previous race that are present at the current race will be the final 20 positions in the qualifying order based on the random draw. The balance of the field will draw for the first qualifying positions.
Sessions at tracks longer than 1.25 miles consist of one timed lap per driver. Vehicles will be lined up and released based on random draw. The top 20 qualifying owners from the previous race that are present at the current race will be the final 20 positions in the qualifying order based on the random draw. The balance of the field will draw for the first qualifying positions.
For road-course races like Circuit of The Americas, Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, qualifying will consist of two rounds. The first round is 25 minutes and the final round is 10 minutes.
The 12 eligible vehicles that post the fastest single-lap speed and competed in the first round advance to the final round. The remaining eligible vehicles will be assigned starting grid positions 13th through 40th based on their fastest single-lap speed posted in the first round in descending order.
There will be a five-minute break after the completion of the first round and the 12 remaining vehicles that advance to the final round will have their posted speed reset.
In the event of inclement weather during qualifying, the following rules apply:
At road courses, if the final qualifying round is not completed due to weather or other adverse circumstances, eligibility for the race will be determined based on the most recent completed round.
At oval tracks, if the first qualifying round is not completed due to weather or other adverse circumstances:
• Starting positions will be assigned based on team owner points standings, in descending order.
• The next available position(s) will be assigned to eligible Open team(s) who entered the vehicle in that event prior to the entry deadline in the order in which their vehicle number was selected during the random drawing for that event.
• The next available starting grid position(s), if any, will be assigned to eligible Open team(s) who entered the vehicle in that event after the entry deadline based on team owner points standings.