The traditional one-at-a-time system was replaced by a variation of the group knockout format adopted at all other events last year.
A series of five-minute sessions were held, but the first was interrupted by a massive accident that destroyed several cars, and all featured bizarre scenes in the pitlane as drivers held back until the last possible moment then jostled to avoid being at the front of the pack as faster speeds were possible further back in the draft.
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Clint Bowyer was among the worst affected, with his Michael Waltrip Toyota written-off in a pile-up triggered by contact with Reed Sorenson's Team Xtreme Ford.
While initially furious with Sorenson for blocking him, Bowyer said the crash was ultimately a consequence of the qualifying format.
"It ain't his fault. It's NASCAR's fault for putting us out in the middle of this crap for nothing," said Bowyer.
"It's idiotic to be out here doing this anyway. There's no sense in trying to put on some cute show for whatever the hell this is.
"These guys have spent six months working on these cars, busting their butts on these cars.
"It's stupid. There's no sense in doing this."
The Stewart-Haas drivers - all of whom were eliminated in the first group stage - were also vociferous critics.
Owner/driver Tony Stewart tweeted that the system was "a complete embarrassment for our series" and Kurt Busch said the format was akin to "shaking up bingo balls".
Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson said NASCAR had to consider whether the greater interest the qualifying incidents generated was worth it.
"It's tough because I think everybody's trying to keep an open mind on what's best for the sport and what creates the most interest," he said.
"I guess maybe we should look at viewership numbers and attendance numbers to see if this format supports the risks that the teams are taking and drivers are taking in the cars.
"Fortunately, I drive for a big team, a well-funded team. I would be bummed if we lost our 500 car [in a qualifying crash]."
NASCAR's executive vice-president Steve O'Donnell said the series would seek "feedback from the industry" over the format.
"If you look at group qualifying as a whole, we felt it worked really well, but certainly there's some challenges on superspeedways," he said.
"We don't want to see wrecks of any kind. It's not lost on us how much work goes into these cars by the teams, the efforts for our biggest race of the year.
"Was it more exciting? Were there more people talking about qualifying? Hopefully so. What does that result in at the end of the day?"
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