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NASCAR oks use of cooling machines during qualifying rounds

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Although NASCAR's new "knockout" qualifying format has been garnering praise from both drivers and fans, one of the biggest complaints is that they are not providing enough time for “hot cars” to cool down fast enough between heats. As a result, some competitors are being forced to take extra laps at “hospital-zone speeds” while other drivers are racing along at full speed, which has caused major safety concerns among the teams. In fact. Brian Vickers (who finished 13th at last Sunday’s Kobalt 400) has stated that the combination qualifying/cool-down lap routine is "the most dangerous thing I've ever done in a race car."

As a result, NASCAR officials have agreed to allow crews to hook-up outside cooling units to the cars on pit road. Up until now, they have argued that “permitting teams to open the hood would make it too difficult to ‘police’ teams."

In addition both Phoenix and Las Vegas Speedways will let drivers to run cool-down laps along the inside apron. While both are wide enough for this to take place, other tracks such as Bristol and Martinsville are not, making the cooling units a major necessity. No one wants to continue to see cars driving at 10-40 mph on the same track as those going 200 mpg +.