By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
This year’s unique NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race format, which requires the first nine, 10 or 11 drivers to start the final 13-lap segment on old tires (with the specific number determined by lot) with cars on new tires behind them, already has drivers thinking about hypothetical scenarios.
Drivers in 12th place or worse entering the final segment, where only green-flag laps count, will be guaranteed fresh rubber, and that number is crucial to a lot of calculations.
“We have to see how the tires wear,” said Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. “That’s really going to be the key. And then, man, it’s just I was going through it this morning … if you’re running sixth or seventh before the final stop, I don’t know, then it becomes maybe a race for 12th or something.
“I just don’t know how this thing is going to play out. The advantage that I have is we have a really fast pit crew so I feel like even if we’re not leading and we feel like the tires are the deal and we’re running fifth or something we could still come off of pit road first. I think for us and for my team, fortunately, because of my pit crew, I have more options I believe.”
On the other hand, the restart for the final segment will be anything but orderly.
“Somebody brought up the fact that, (with) the complete chaos that’s going to ensue when they drop the green flag, you might be better off being in the back with fresher tires, because I believe some people are going to be wrecking,” Edwards said.
“I think the factor that’s going to determine what you do is how much the tires fall off, how much advantage do you have. I don’t know, it’s going to be – before that caution comes out, there’s going to be a lot of people trying a lot of different things.”
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