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NASCAR postpones one-lap qualifying by a week

At the request of drivers, NASCAR agreed to a one-week delay on a rule change that will limit qualifying attempts to a single lap at most tracks.

Two weeks ago, NASCAR said the change would take effect this week at the New England 300. The new rule will allow teams only to run one lap during qualifying at all tracks a mile or longer, with the exceptions of Talladega and Daytona.

But NASCAR decided to hold off when drivers expressed concern about a new sealant that has been used to fill in some of the grooves at New Hampshire International Speedway.

"Some of the competitors requested it because they felt if they got loose during the single lap, it wasn't very fair," NASCAR spokeswoman Danielle Humphrey said. "It was a fair request."

Humphrey said the one-lap rule will go into effect next week in Pocono.

This week, all drivers will qualify using the best time from two laps around the 1.058-mile track, just like they always have.

Many drivers have reacted negatively to the change, fearing a small slip-up could knock them out of the race, or force them to use a provisional to get into the 43-car field.

"I think it's wrong," Jeff Burton said. "When we go to these tracks and there are 48 cars trying to make a race and you get one lap to make a race, I think that's ludicrous."

The rule is especially hard on drivers without provisionals.

"If you mess up or your car slips or something happens, you're done," Todd Bodine said. "The position we're in, back in points, if I mess up we're not going to get a provisional and we're going to end up going to the house."

SKINNER UPDATE: Mike Skinner was recovering after surgery to repair his left ankle, fractured in a crash during a Winston Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Dr. Craig Hankins, an orthopedic specialist, performed the 45-minute procedure Wednesday in Daytona Beach. Skinner then flew home to North Carolina by private plane.

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