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NASCAR alters Cup qualifying format for Richmond

NASCAR America looks at the playoff leaderboard before Richmond and wonders which teams can challenge Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske.

All three rounds of Cup qualifying Friday at Richmond Raceway will be five minutes each, NASCAR told teams in a memo Thursday.

The change cuts the first round and second rounds from 10 minutes to five minutes each. The final round remains unchanged.

In the memo from Scott Miller, senior vice president of competition, the reason for the change this weekend was “in an effort to improve the quality of our qualifying broadcast.”

The change is intended to reduce the time teams sit parked on pit road waiting to go out. When the second round of Cup qualifying started last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, none of the 24 cars eligible to make a run went on track in the first five minutes of the 10-minute session.

NASCAR stated that the change for this weekend at Richmond should not be viewed as the new qualifying format moving forward for Cup.

Also, the change does not impact Xfinity Series qualifying. The first and second rounds of Xfinity qualifying will remain 10 minutes each. The final round of Xfinity qualifying will be five minutes.

Click here to see the memo NASCAR sent teams