NASCAR changes rule, allows teams to start races on fresh tires

Kevin Harvick (4) leads the pack during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

What’s old is new again in the Cup Series when it comes to starting a race on fresh tires.

NASCAR tweaked its rulebook on Wednesday, changing a rule that has been in place for less than 50 races. As of next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, teams will be allowed to start races on fresh tires.

The sanctioning body added a rule before the 2017 season that required teams to start the race on the tires they qualified their car on. That meant if a driver had a tire problem in qualifying and the team needed to put a fresh set on the car before the race the driver had to start at the back of the field.

There were a few unintended consequences with the rule, however. If a team didn’t make a qualifying run or made one less qualifying run than their peers in the group qualifying format, those tires would be fresher than anyone else’s. That was true for those teams that had to change tires after qualifying and start at the back as well. While starting last or near last is a penalty, it was mitigated at tracks with high tire wear by having fresher tires than the rest of the field.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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