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NASCAR expected to keep similar practice and qualifying format for 2023

NASCAR is expected to keep a similar practice and qualifying format for the 2023 season with any changes likely announced in January.

NASCAR: Cup Practice

NASCAR implemented a new practice and qualifying format for the 2022 season but it did not come without some flaws. This was due to the groups in the NASCAR Cup Series that saw uneven competition due to the lineup formula.

There have been owners around the sport, such as RFK Racing co-owner Brad Keselowski, who want to see longer practice sessions return. The other premier motorsports, IndyCar and Formula 1, have multiple practice sessions for a longer time.

Despite the issues with the qualifying groups and short practice sessions, NASCAR is expected to bring back a similar practice and qualifying format for the 2023 season but nothing should be official until January, according to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass.

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NASCAR expected to bring back similar practice and qualifying system for the 2023 season

NASCAR: Cup Practice
Nov 4, 2022; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) races into turn one during practice for the Cup Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The practice and qualifying format for the 2022 season was criticized by fans as a 20-minute practice session for each group is not enough while other motorsports have multiple, long sessions.

It is understandable as fans travel to the race track to see action and that creates a healthy fan experience. However, the current format is better than the 2021 season when practice and qualifying were almost nonexistent.

This is essentially a cost-cutting measure for teams and it appears likely to remain in place moving forward. The format itself is good for television but there is a better scenario that would be more intriguing to the fans.

If the sport could make a full 50-minute practice session with no groups and separate into two groups for qualifying, it would essentially be the same thing except for more practice time overall.

Granted, that does not appear probable to happen right now but nothing will likely become official until January, as stated above. The NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series formats play into the mix too.

Both levels of NASCAR had a 20-minute practice session with single-lap qualifying in one round determining the starting lineup during the 2022 season. This differs from the two rounds in the Cup Series.

The format for both series worked well last season so it would be understandable to see zero changes. It is a traditional system that has been used for multiple years in the sport.

Stay tuned for the latest updates from NASCAR on the practice and qualifying formats for the 2023 season as the first on-track action is coming fast.