NASCAR: Should a choose cone be used for the All-Star Race?

Bristol, NASCAR, Cup Series (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Bristol, NASCAR, Cup Series (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

When the NASCAR All-Star Race comes to Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time, it will be an event like never before. Should NASCAR test out a choose cone in this race?

This year’s NASCAR All-Star Race is set to be the first ever at a short track. While the situation regarding COVID-19 around Charlotte Motor Speedway is not good, Speedway Motorsports, which owns both Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, knew this historic night deserved fans and moved the event to the latter.

Every All-Star Race in recent years has had something unique. In 2017, Goodyear brought a second tire compound that was supposed to have more grip, but users of these tires would have to restart at the back of the pack. In 2018, the race featured restrictor plates for the first time. Last year, the race featured a single-piece carbon splitter and a radiator exit duct on the hood.

We know this year’s battle of the best will be unique in regard to the numbering/paint scheme concept, but what about the actual racing?

There has been chatter in recent weeks of a choose cone being implemented for restarts, not just for the All-Star Race. Austin Dillon took to Twitter to state his case for a choose cone after racing at Darlington Raceway.

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What is a choose cone? It is a rule used at a lot of short tracks and dirt tracks in the United States. When there’s one lap left before a restart, all cars will remain in a single-file line. A point on the track which will be signaled by a cone is where drivers will determine in which lane to restart.

For example, the top five drivers could restart all on the preferred line on the outside, but the driver in sixth place could restart first on the inside line in a strategic attempt to gain track position.

The choose cone at Bristol Motor Speedway would definitely inject a lot of strategy into the All-Star Race, especially if the PJ1 traction compound is activated and working for drivers on the high line, and it would be a great way to test it out for future races as well.

While it wasn’t an All-Star Race, think about this as a similar example if NASCAR decides to use the choose cone. In last season’s spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ty Dillon won stage one in a photo finish over Clint Bowyer.

While that stage win was dependent on pit road strategy, can you imagine if that was for a race win based on a choose cone rule? It would provide a lot of strategy and figuring out if you want to take the safe bet and use the racing groove or take a risk and use the worse groove but get better track position and perhaps more points.

The All-Star Race isn’t for points, but there is still a $1 million prize on the line for the winner! If the choose cone is used in the All-Star Open as well, we could even see several All-Star Race spots earned by utilizing it.

At a track where either line can work, especially with the PJ1 when it is activated, many drivers will definitely want that track position if they are near the back of the field.

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The 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race is expected to be a great one at Bristol, baby! Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 15 to catch all the live action.