NASCAR introduced multiple tire compounds for tonight’s All-Star race with the stipulation that all four new stickier green “option” tires must go on at the same time. But they didn’t say that all four had to be left on or pulled off at the same time, as Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 team pointed out during tonight’s race.
During Stage 3 of 4, Bowyer came into the pits for two new yellow “prime” tires on his right side only after 20 laps on the sticky greens. NASCAR admitted defeat in their rules-writing ability and let the Bowyer keep the mismatched tires on. Unfortunately for Bowyer, this wasn’t the optimal set-up for good speed, but I do love seeing a loophole blasted through a too-vague rulebook.
Bowyer’s crew chief smirked gloriously that he’d gotten away with something, however, Bowyer was ultimately eliminated from the final stage of the All-Star Race by only one place after losing a lot of places on the wrong tires. Oops!
Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 team also tried to get creative with the tires moments later, but ultimately were denied. They wanted to swap the option tires they’d used earlier back onto the car, as their option tires were used under caution and had been swapped out early due to a vibration. Those tires still had plenty of life left.
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However, NASCAR wanted all four option tires to be installed as new tires, and kept the No. 2 team from putting their option tires back on. Unfortunately for Keselowski, there was no loophole and he was out of tires to use.
Ain’t that a gimmick? That’s a gimmick. There’s no other reason why he shouldn’t use those tires. It was the only part I didn’t like about the tire options, because otherwise, they provided some hilarious chaos in an otherwise, well, typically gimmicky All-Star Race.
The lack of a loophole meant that Keselowski stayed out to start the final stage at the start of the field. He didn’t stay there for long on old tires, though.
Kyle Busch ultimately won today’s All-Star Race, with Kyle Larson 1.2 seconds behind him. Jimmy Johnson came in third. This is Busch’s first Cup Series win at Charlotte, ever, plus he wins the $1 million prize.