In what is claimed to not be a response to the lack of mid-to-late-race action at Kentucky Speedway’s Cup Series race on Saturday, Nascar has announced that at this Sunday’s race at New Hampshire International Speedway, there will be a competition caution at lap 290 to allow teams to check tire wear and adjust accordingly.
“There are very few things Nascar and Speedway Motorsports Inc. (owner of NHIS) agree on, but we whole-heartedly agree on this”, said Nascar chairman Brian France in a joint press conference with SMI chairman Bruton Smith, “and that is that teams need to have the opportunity to pit and examine their tire situations roughly 16 laps from the finish.”
France said that the decision to institute the late-race competition caution had nothing to do with the “follow the leader” racing that played out throughout most of the race, only to be halted by a late-race caution that bunched up the leaders just short of the finish.
“Wait now, there’s no way we’d allow anything like that to happen”, Smith said, cutting France’s remarks off. “I invented this whole stage racing deal, and look at how much people love it. I think people are going to love the strategy of teams figuring out late-race tire wear and rubber degradation just as much as they love the strategy of teams figuring out mid-race fuel strategy.”
That the mandated late caution will bunch up the field for a guaranteed late-race shootout is “…a happy coincidence”, France said, claiming that he believes that fans not only want an exciting, action-packed finish, but a day of constant discussion of pit strategy and tire monitoring.
In a break from typical competition caution protocol, teams will be allowed to fuel their cars prior to the competition caution.