Jeff Gordon's team is really turning it on in the Chase, they grabbed the pole for this weekend's race.
To be honest, that wasn't too much of a surprise as Jeff Gordon really likes running there, and drivers and their teams seem to put a little extra into tracks that they like to run at.
What really is notable though is that 3 of the DNQ's actually ran faster than Kyle Petty and Bill Elliott, but because of the Top 35 rule and the Past Champion's Provisional these guys got to stay while Sam Hornish, Brian Vickers and Joe Nemechek all had to go home.
Does anyone really enjoy qualifying anymore? Not me, I already know 35 of the teams that will be in the race anyway so why bother watching or even going? It is the Top 35 rule and the elimination of second day qualifying that has killed qualifying and started the use and abuse of the Past Champion's Provisional.
You know, I never really had a problem with the Past Champion's Provisional, but as it has been used and abused these last few years I'm not liking it anymore. Case in point, Dale Jarrett' s farewell tour next year is the exact same number of races as he has provisionals, does that mean if he actually qualifies that his tour will be extended for one race? Just maybe.
What I really have a problem with is the Top 35 rule. I think the fastest cars that qualify should be the ones in the race. It is the Top 35 rule that has lead to the use and abuse of the Past Champion's Provisional anyway. Before you had the Top 35 rule any past Champion could use a provisional, not just the ones outside the Top 35. That means Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, etc. might have had to use the provisional to keep their car in the field and that would have eliminated most of the abuse this provisional has received over the last few years.
You know, even when Dale Earnhardt was running for Championships, and the like, he still had to use the Past Champion's Provisional or second round qualifying from time to time. That was when you had to qualify on speed. Back then you didn't see any of the provisionals being abused the way they are now.
You know, if they had second round qualifying they would have had more races this year that were actually set on speed rather than owner points. Second round qualifying would also have allowed other drivers like Boris Said the opportunity to actually race. Boris sat on the pole at Daytona this year and with but a handful of cars left to qualify the skies opened up and qualifying was erased. Boris went home instead of racing that weekend. This happened, not once, but twice to him this year. If they had second round qualifying they would have been able to get qualifying done and Boris would have raced more this year.
NASCAR really has to look at this Top 35 rule and it's qualifying procedures in the off-season, as I think it is destroying the sport. I know Toyota doesn't like it too much right now, because if NASCAR didn't have the Top 35 rule then there would have been a lot more Toyota's in more races this year. Hopefully they can put pressure on NASCAR to change it's qualifying policies, because they aren't going to do it just for us, the fans, who actually used to enjoy qualifying.