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NASCAR Press Release- 2005 Qualifying Procedures

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2004) – NASCAR will implement a post-qualifying impound procedure for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the majority of the 36 championship-point races in 2005, NASCAR officials announced today.

More than half of the events on the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule will utilize the new procedure that will provide cost-containment benefits to the teams. Following qualifying and the post-qualifying inspection process, the starting field of 43 cars will be impounded by NASCAR officials until race day. During this period, the teams will not be permitted to work on their cars unless for special circumstances and authorized by NASCAR officials.

“We are still in the process of getting more tracks to commit to this procedure,” NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director John Darby said. “We appreciate the cooperation of our track operators to assist us in delivering cost-saving measures to the team owners.”

Some of the benefits of the new procedure will include reducing the amount of labor by crew members on the cars throughout a race weekend; reducing practice tire consumption and, most importantly, eliminating special qualifying parts, components, oils and set-ups.

“Ultimately, all the teams will arrive at the track with a focus on one goal,” Darby said. “That goal will be to have the best possible race set-up, and hopefully that will enhance the overall competitive element throughout the field.”

The new procedure will alter the traditional race weekend schedule. The two 45-minute final practices the day following qualifying – commonly known as “Happy Hour” – will be eliminated.

In many cases for a traditional race weekend (Friday-Sunday), two hours of practice would take place Friday, Bud Pole qualifying on Saturday and then the cars would be impounded immediately following post-qualifying inspection. On doubleheader weekends, Bud Pole qualifying could be followed by a NASCAR Busch Series event, creating a strong single-day package for race fans.

In another cost-saving measure with competition benefits, NASCAR also will give its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams the opportunity to conduct a combination preseason test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and California Speedway.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams will be permitted to test a maximum of two days at each track. Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be available to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, and California Speedway will be available Feb. 1-3, eliminating the expense of making two separate trips for tests at those respective tracks.

“This benefit to the teams would not have been possible without the cooperation and willingness of both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and California Speedway,” Darby said. “We expect the teams to take full advantage of the opportunity.”

The tests at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and California Speedway will serve as the western swing of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, which kicks off the 2005 season with sessions Jan. 11-13 and 18-20 at Daytona International Speedway.

For more information, contact:
Mike Zizzo, NASCAR Public Relations at (704) 720-3100 or mzizzo@nascar.com.


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