What Is The Pole Position In NASCAR?
In NASCAR, the driver in the pole position begins the race at the front of the inner lane. At the beginning of every race, each race car is assigned a starting position, the lead spot being called pole position. Being able to make the first turn with inside position is an advantage for the driver as they are allowed to get a quick start on the race and potentially build an early lead for themselves.
Why Is It Called the Pole Position?
The phrase pole position is taken from horse racing, which has a pole located at the starting gate. The horse which began the race in the 1 slot, which is closest to the pole, was given the title of having the pole position. The phrase has been adapted by the racing world and is well known in NASCAR.
Pole Position and Qualifying
Where drivers start each race is based on how well they did during qualifying. The pole position is given to the driver that had the fastest time during the qualifying session.
Drivers are asked to participate in time trials to ensure that their car is fast enough for the main race. They complete two laps around the track while being timed during each qualifying round. The driver who completes the fastest lap in the final qualifying round gets to begin the official race in the prime position.
Pole Position Prizes
On top of receiving the most coveted starting position, the driver who is awarded the pole position also receives a cash bonus as a prize. The money is paid out by race’s or driver’s sponsor as a further way to incentivize securing the spot. Sponsors love for their driver to earn the pole position, as it will likely lead to increased media interest for their driver. In the leadup to the race, the driver who was awarded the pole position will appear in interviews, and get increased exposure.
Pros of Pole Position in NASCAR
Having the pole position is a definite advantage in any race. Having the ability to get a clean start and avoid potential congestion is a great way to build an early lead. It is not uncommon for drivers that are in the middle of the race lineup to get in a crash as cars are grouped close to one another. The driver with pole position is able to take an inside track route, the most optimal for achieving the fastest time.