‘Choose rule’ will get test drive at All-Star Race
There are several major storylines relating to NASCAR’s AllStar Race on Wednesday, ranging from the flashy underglow lighting for the cars to the fact that it’s at Bristol Motor Speedway instead of the traditional Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The exhibition event with $1 million on the line for the winner also will introduce the Cup Series to the ‘‘choose rule,’’ which will allow each driver to select the lane he wants to restart from and adds more strategy to the mix.
As NASCAR explained, for the All-Star Race, as ‘‘drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart.’’ It was a big deal last month when NASCAR announced the rule would be tested at this race.
But driver Clint Bowyer has some concerns about overhyping the potential impact of one rule.
‘‘You hear drivers talk about it, and I fear — like I do a lot of times — I don’t want to oversell it,’’ Bowyer said in a Zoom call Sunday. ‘‘Can it make an impact? Absolutely. But if you oversell it, it will never hold up to the expectations of what people are expecting out of that.
‘‘For the most part, I don’t see that it probably will make a difference past a few rows. I just don’t see people giving up two or three spots to stay on the outside. Possibly if you are on old tires or something like that, that’s where an opportunity like that comes in . . . . Can it work? Yes. Do I fear that it’s oversold? A little bit.’’
The rule is popular in short- and dirt-track races, but it’s new to the Cup Series’ exhibition event, which often is seen as a way to experiment with different rules without implementing them in points races.
Under NASCAR’s current restart rules, only the leader can select which lane he wants to restart in. Everyone else has to line up based on his track position at that time. The choose rule opens that up to give drivers the opportunity to select their preferred lane.
A lot of drivers are really into it. Austin Dillon advocated for it, and Joey Logano joked that if a bunch of 12-year-old racers can figure the rule out, Cup drivers can, too.