The All-Star Race’s option tire experiment is one-and-done. At least for now, anyway.
Goodyear racing director Greg Stucker said Tuesday on SiriusXM that teams wouldn’t have a tire choice during the 2018 race. NASCAR and Goodyear added a softer, option tire for teams in the 2017 race with the hopes the tire combination would spark competition.
Teams were mandated to run the option tires at least once with the goal of the softer tires being faster but wearing out quicker. It was an idea that sounded great in theory but, like many things in NASCAR, didn’t work as well in reality.
Stucker left the door open to the option tire returning in future All-Star races.
“It’s not on the ticket for 2018,” Stucker said. “We actually have talked about it, talked about it again fairly recently to be quite honest with you. And I think it really lends itself to a race like the All-Star. I think there’s some real opportunities there.
I think we all kind of figured last year we needed three to four tenths [a second per lap] between the prime tire and the option tire. That’s exactly what we had when we did back-to-backs in the daytime but then when the race itself came along and it cooled down, the cooler temperatures kind of leveled everything out.”
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) March 13, 2018
The All-Star Race is run at night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a track that’s as temperature-sensitive as any in the Cup Series. The track is much slicker during the day, making drivers search for speed high and low throughout the corners and producing multi-groove racing. At night, the track doesn’t produce much side-by-side racing and tire wear falls off considerably. Whoever had the option tires during the 2017 All-Star Race wasn’t much, if any, faster than drivers who were on the regular tires.
The option tire rules proved to be a disaster too. NASCAR either wrote the rule about the tires too simply or failed to account for possible scenarios throughout the race. Teams were required to put all four option tires on at once, but the rule didn’t specify if they could be used again or had to be replaced by four regular tires on the following pit stop, causing confusion for all involved at various points during the race.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.