NASCAR will be looking for "something different in the lineup" as the Monster Energy Cup Series drivers arrive to qualify for Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks.
After the 12 drivers who qualified for the third and final qualifying round at Auto Club Speedway were not able to post a single qualifying lap, Scott Miller, senior vice president of the NASCAR competition, suggested adjustments.
Finally, the top 12 for Sunday's Auto Club 400 were determined by the speed of the second round, which allowed Austin Dillon of the RCR to win the pole.
"I've obviously seen what our fans do not Miller told NASCAR after a final, almost silent qualifying session. "Having the 12 fastest cars to wait until they can not have a time on the board, making a mockery of qualifying, is not what our fans expect.
"It's a bit on us because we were hoping things would be better than that. It's an exciting show when they are all on the race track, but obviously there is work to be done. [with the format] on our side so that such things do not happen. We want to give our fans what they deserve, and we and the teams have not done a very good job in this regard today. We are all very disappointed. "
In the first and second qualifying round, the drivers remained at the end of the pit road until the end of the session. Then, loading on the track, the pilots tried to position themselves at their best place to get a project.
Nobody wanted to be the driver pulling the line and the last lap, nobody wanted to leave the stands first.
Texas will be the next time the series qualifies on a track where a draft could come in. Next weekend, the series will go to the Martinsville short circuit.
"We will definitely make some adjustments to [qualifying], not quite sure what, "said Miller," We do not want to go back to qualifying for one car, there may be no other way, but we want to exhaust all possibilities before [go back] because it's not as fun, nor as spectacular as the group situation.
"We will try to find a way to adjust the group qualification and not go back to a single car; but we have work to do on it.
Chase Elliott acknowledged that no one wanted to be the first to go out on the big Fontana circuit today. The Hendrick Motorsports driver does not know what to do, but said it was really fun to see the drivers draft and fight to create the right gap they could get in the first two laps.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, who will start second and ninth respectively, said supporters of the stands had clearly expressed their dissatisfaction.
"We were booed," said Bowyer. "It's disappointing for everyone. I do not know – I saw it coming three weeks ago. I think we all did. Unfortunately, we will have to be reactive rather than proactive.
"It's a learning process, the whole package is. Everyone knew it was ok, and everyone was patient, but I'm a little lacking patience now with Friday.
"There is so much hard work and dedication on the part of so many teams to build the fastest car that humanity knows inside their organization, and that does not matter. This is not the race.
"I feel like an industry that can do better than this one. I know [NASCAR] will take the right [steps] to correct things but unfortunately it took something like today to [force] adjustment."
"I think the crowd is telling Hue story," said Harvick, who reported to NASCAR whether a format change is needed. "We are doing our best to try to position ourselves in the best position; and it was just a handful today. "
Fifth place qualifier Joey Logano said Team Penske Team # 22 had failed in the last round, but everyone else too.
"It's the game," he said.
Ryan Newman qualified seventh, but was another driver unhappy with how the qualifiers unfolded recently.
"I do not think it has been a very successful use of television for our sponsors," he said. "I told you all in Las Vegas that I'm still a big fan of single-seater qualifying. That's all I need to say, really. That's how the qualifications should be.
"The prevailing spirit of play, the lack of 100% results – that's not what qualifications are.
"But that's the program NASCAR has established, the rules it has laid out, and the framework in which they put us. We should be ashamed not to have had a ride today. "