NASCAR will make two major procedure changes in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, that will change the execution of restarts as well as the determination of the starting grid for races.
Beginning at Michigan, NASCAR will incorporate the ‘choose cone’ rule into the restart procedure for all national series races with the exception of superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) and road courses (Daytona RC, Charlotte Roval, Road America).
The ‘choose rule’ made its debut during the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway last month and will continue to be used going forward in NASCAR National Series competition.
As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart. The rule will add strategy to restarts and will be especially important on tracks that have a distinctly dominant lane on the restart.
In addition to the choose cone, starting at Daytona’s Road Course, NASCAR will now use three competition based performance metrics to determine the starting lineups – including the Busch Pole Award and the Cometic Gaskets Pole Award — as well as pit selection order for each race, replacing the random draw procedure that has been in place for the majority of the events since NASCAR returned.
The results of the performance metric will be determined by a weighted average formula, in which points position will be weighted at 35%, finishing position at 50% and the fastest race lap rank 15%. This method is designed to reward both season-long and single-race performance, using owner points position and the finishing result and fastest lap rank of the series’ previous race.
When the playoffs begin in each respective series, playoff cars will automatically start in front of non-playoff drivers.
“Considering feedback from teams, drivers and fans, NASCAR has implemented these changes to enhance competition as we approach the Playoffs,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We received nothing but positive comments from the drivers on the choose rule following the All-Star Race, and felt it was an important addition to the restart procedure. The random draw has served us well during the return to racing, but it is important that starting lineups are based on performance as we approach the Playoffs. The entire industry is aligned on implementing a competition-based system to determine the starting lineup and pit selection order.”