Because of rising COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, NASCAR moved this year’s All-Star Race to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and in doing so said it would utilize the “choose rule” for the first time.
Used at many short tracks across the country, the rule allows drivers exiting pit road to pick which lane in which to restart.
At several tracks, including Bristol, it can be a decided advantage to restart in one lane or the other.
“I think just like anything, I think it comes down to having an issue of like something blowing up or some other issue that you can’t foresee ahead of time,” Bowyer said. “I have seen it go good and seen it go bad, honestly.
“I don’t want that to be the focal point going into Bristol. It can’t just be about the cone rule. You hear drivers talk about it and I don’t want to oversell it. Can it make an impact? Absolutely. But if you oversell it, it will never hold up to the expectations of what people are expecting out of that.”
How much is the outside really worth?
Bowyer said he just doesn’t believe many drivers will give up a lot of track position to stay in the outside lane.
“Just look at this (past) weekend in Kentucky. I think it is a prime example. I called both of those Xfinity races and had it been that rule in place, some of those guys maybe starting second would have chosen the outside,” he said.
“But it really wasn’t that second-place car, that inside car, on the front row. If you go back and look at it, fifth-place was the one that was certainly (helped).
“Can it work? Yes. Do I think it is oversold? A little bit.”
NASCAR announced Tuesday the choose rule will be used for restarts only. Drivers must be single-file under caution when crossing the start/finish line at the time to choose their restart lane.
A V-shaped painted mark on the track will show where drivers must decide what lane they wish to restart.
To restart in the inside lane, drivers must have their right-side tires on or below the painted line at the V-shaped mark. To restart in the outside lane, drivers must have their left-side tires on or above the painted line at the V-shaped mark on the track.