Like F1, Teams will have multiple choice NASCAR tire compounds available during Charlotte All-Star Race
Yesterday, NASCAR announced a new All-Star race format, a bold format. It’s like F1, yes. But it’s also more like local short track racing than anything. Which I believe is the whole idea behind the new NASCAR All-Star format.
Below I’ll discuss multiple tire compound strategy options. The possibilities are endless.
Beyond tire compounds, we now have 4 stages. Many fans hate the stages. Originally, I did as well. I knew it would make the 1.5 races better, I didn’t think it would work so well at the short tracks. I was incorrect. Martinsville was one of the better races at the paperclip, in years.
It is certainly an attempt by NASCAR to make their product more in-line with the short track format. That’s great! It’s what the core fan base has been asking for, for years. In the Charlotte All-Star race, 4 stages, none longer than 20 laps. Basically, we have 4 short track Saturday night features on a 1.5 mile speedway.
An attempt to re-connect with the short track racing fan base. It’s a step in the right direction. I’m fairly sure it will add a significant amount of drama and excitement to the racing program.
Back to the multiple tire compounds. NASCAR has done something similar in the past. Only, it wasn’t done on this level though. The sanctioning body has offered alternative tire brands, years ago.
However, upon choosing the tire brand for the weekend, teams were stuck with it. Teams have never had the ability to switch between a hard and soft NASCAR tire mid-race. This time, one manufacture, two compounds and the ability to use either compound, at any point in the race.
Two Compound NASCAR Tire Scenarios
Stage 1: Let’s say a caution comes out with 6 laps to go in stage 1. All the leaders might pit, might not. The fastest cars and everyone else only have 1 set of the softest tire compound. They don’t want to use it in the first stage, right? A stage win doesn’t pay $1,000,000, it pays $0.
But what about a team running 10th? Could they opt to use their single set of soft tires, for a 2 lap shootout. Maybe they don’t want to use all 4 soft tires, so they install 2 soft and 2 hard?
What if they win the stage on soft tires? At the end of the stage, they could pit, remove the soft tires and put the harder compound back on. Only two laps used of the softer tires. A nice sacrifice to win the stage or at the least, improve their 10th place position.
Stage Wins: Only 10 cars will be in the final stage. We now have eliminations, mid-race. The stage winners will automatically transfer. The rest will qualify based on their average finish in the first 3 stages. A stage win is more important than a regular season NACSAR race.
Someone is going to steal a stage win on soft tires. They will qualify for the final stage, sacrificing a few laps on their single set of soft tires. Yet, they still need to stay on the lead lap to qualify, even with a stage win.
Final Stage: Literally every driver will want the soft tires on for the final stage. But when do you put them on? Lap 60? For most, yes. But not all.
The final stage in only 10 laps, completing the 70 lap event. Most of the front runners will start the stage on the soft tire compound. That’s the safest strategy, but it’s not the only strategy.
Some teams will not start the final 10 laps on their single shot of soft tires. Instead, they will start on the hard Goodyear tire compound. Why? They are going to hope for a caution with 5 to go or less. It will be a gamble, but they won’t have much to lose running 10th.
If that caution comes and it’s likely it will, they have just been handed a gift. The select few teams who started the final stage on the hard tires will now pit for their single set of softer NASCAR tires.
Meanwhile, the front runners already used their soft tires, they will stay out. The other cars will enter the final laps of the race, with soft tires 5 laps newer than the leaders. They will come charging through the field. But will they have enough time to get to the front? That’s going to be great!
If no caution comes in the final stage, those teams on hard tires in the final stage will go nowhere but backwards. If no caution flag is dropped, some of these teams will run the entire 70 lap race, without the use of their soft Goodyear tire compounds.
Basically, the race is going to be complete chaos. As if the All-Star race wasn’t crazy enough. Now, new strategies will appear, each time a caution flag is dropped.
Author: Shane Walters
What is the NASCAR All-Star format?
The race will have stages of 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps for a total of 70 laps, run over four stages, as a nod to the 1992 race, which also had 70 laps. Only 10 cars will earn a spot in the final 10-lap segment.