Article By: Josh Parrish
In a continuation of our “Talk It Up! – Knockout Qualifying” article, we spoke with Layne Riggs about what he thought about the Knockout Qualifying format that is used in the CARS Tour. Riggs, joining a majority of other drivers, stated that he is not a huge fan of the current qualifying procedure.
“I think knockout qualifying is good for drivers at certain tracks and unfair at other tracks. I enjoy knockout qualifying in the aspect that it gives drivers a second chance if they make a mistake or were not fast enough the first time.”
Riggs went on to say, “I think it works well with tracks that have a pit road and tracks with multiple grooves. I do not like knockout qualifying at tracks with one fast line and no where for cars to be able to build up speed without getting in someone’s way.”
Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, NC played host to the 2019 Season Opener for the CARS Tour. SNMP is known for being a one-groove, high-banked track. As Layne mentioned above this type of qualifying works better at multi-groove tracks.
“At southern national it did not work good. There were almost multiple wrecks in the pits and people holding others up with no room. It is also one of the biggest one groove tracks that we go to making it difficult to find an opening in traffic. Also Southern National is a track that takes a long time to get heat in the tires so the cars that were going out with cold tires were in the way of others trying to get their fast lap in.”
We asked Layne what he thought about the CARS Tour switching to Euro Qualifying instead of the Knockout Format the series is currently using. Euro Qualifying is typically used for weekly races in the support divisions along with the late model divsions at some tracks. This format puts cars, normally based on practice speeds, in groups of 4 or 5. The cars then go on track and make 5 laps for their qualifying attempt.
“I like that style a lot if the CARS Tour is looking to cut down time that it takes to do qualifying. I think that it works well for tracks that are bigger and give cars room to spread out. Most of the time if the groups are ordered correctly by practice speed, cars don’t interfere with each other which is good.”
Layne pointed out that qualifying is about speed and not working around traffic.
“Qualifying is about seeing how fast a car and driver are and is not about if the driver can manipulate other people to be the fastest.”
The next race on the CARS Tour Schedule is Hickory Motor Speedway on March 23rd. This race will also feature 150 laps races for both the LMSC and SLM divisions