And: Performance Metrics Set Starting Lineup
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 6, 2020) – NASCAR today announced two competition procedure changes that it will implement ahead of the Playoffs in all three national series. (This includes the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors 200 on August 30 at WWTR.)
Starting with this weekend’s races at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR will incorporate the ‘choose rule’ into the restart procedure for all national series races except those held on road courses and superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). The rule made its NASCAR national series debut during the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway last month. As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart. The rule will add strategy and is especially important on those tracks that have a distinctly dominant lane on restarts; the drivers will have their choice of track position or the preferred lane as the race returns to green flag conditions. (Zane Smith’s crew chief, Kevin Manion, credited the choose rule with helping his driver win the Truck Series race at Michigan on August 7.)
In addition, beginning with the Daytona Road Course event, NASCAR will now use three competition-based performance metrics to determine the starting lineup – including the Busch Pole Award in the NASCAR Cup Series and the Cometic Gaskets Pole Award in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – and pit selection order for each race, replacing the random draw procedure that has been in place for a majority of races since NASCAR’s return to racing at Darlington Raceway in May.
NASCAR will reward both season-long and single-race performance to determine the lineup and pit selection, using owner points position and the finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.
The metrics will be weighted and averaged to establish the starting order. Points position will be weighted at 35%; finishing position at 50%; fastest race lap at 15%.
When the Playoffs begin, Playoff cars will fill the top starting positions. For instance, in the Round of 16, the top 16 starting positions will be Playoff cars; in the Round of 12, the top 12 starting positions will be Playoff cars; and so on.
“Considering feedback from teams, drivers and fans, NASCAR has implemented these changes to enhance competition as we approach the Playoffs,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “We received nothing but positive comments from the drivers on the choose rule following the All-Star Race, and felt it was an important addition to the restart procedure. The random draw has served us well during the return to racing, but it is important that starting lineups are based on performance as we approach the Playoffs. The entire industry is aligned on implementing a competition-based system to determine the starting lineup and pit selection order.”