ThatsRacin

Tire strategy will be key in new NASCAR All-Star race format

Denny Hamlin won the 2015 All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A format change for this season’s race will place a premium on tire strategy.
Denny Hamlin won the 2015 All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A format change for this season’s race will place a premium on tire strategy. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

A format change for NASCAR’s All-Star race will put a premium on how well race teams handle tire strategy.

The new format for the race – scheduled for May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and with a winner’s prize of $1 million – includes three segments of 50, 50 and 13 laps.

A random draw before the final segment will determine whether nine, 10 or 11 cars will stay on the track with older tires. The remainder of the field – all with fresh tires – will line up behind the cars with older cars for the final 13 laps.

“We worked with NASCAR and talked to several drivers to gather feedback for what they thought would make the very best race for the fans,” Charlotte Motor Speedway president and general manager Marcus Smith said in a statement. “The drivers don’t all agree on the perfect strategy.”

Brad Keselowski was one of the drivers who helped come up with the idea.

“The last segment is sure to demand the ultimate performance,” Keselowski said in a statement. “Winning the last segment will require the driver to masterfully navigate traffic and hunt down the leader, or hold off the best drivers with an ill-handling car on old tires with everything on the line.”

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