There was a new twist to the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this year: Goodyear brought two different tires for the racers to use.
Each of the 20 teams in the all-star field got three sets of normal Goodyear Racing Eagle tires, known as the “prime” sets. They also got one set of softer “option” tires that carried green lettering.
The option tires were about three-tenths of a second per lap quicker than the primes, but gave up sooner, which meant that by 10 laps or so, the primes were actually faster.
The all-star rules stipulated that anyone using the option tires for the final 10-lap stage of the race would have to restart at the end of the field. The big surprise was that no team used the option tires in the final stage.
NASCAR has said they may use two different tires in points races next year, but for now, it was an experiment. And generally speaking, the reaction was positive. Here’s what some of the drivers had to say after the all-star race.
LAT ImagesJohn K Harrelson
The all-star winner, not surprisingly, said he thought the tire concept was good. “It's interesting because I saw a couple guys kind of faded on the option tire,” said Busch. “Our car actually kind of kept going; was pretty fast on the long run with the option tire. I was a fan of it. I thought it was pretty good, pretty fun, gave my car a better sense of feel that I was looking for throughout that run that we had it on the car.”
LAT ImagesJohn K Harrelson
Johnson, the seven-time series champion, was OK with the concept as well. “We see it work in Formula One. We see it work in IndyCar,” Johnson said of the two-tire choice. “I think the garage area — obviously it's pretty new — has a favorable opinion of how this went tonight. Personally I don't have a problem with trying it.”
LAT ImagesNigel Kinrade
All-star runner-up Larson is used to having tire choices from his days racing sprint cars, so he’s also on board. “I think the option tire was a really good thing,” Larson said. “I think in the future maybe they could bring a tire that has even more grip and more of a speed and lap time difference that we can visually kind of see that there is a difference. But I thought it was good.”
LAT ImagesRusty Jarrett
Last year, Logano won the all-star race. This time he finished eighth, and saw a performance difference between the tire sets. “I needed the option tire the whole time,” said Logano. “It was actually pretty interesting that our car was noticeably faster with the option tire on it. It’s not night and day. It’s not like it’s a second, but it’s a couple tenths at least and it got us enough to get into the final 10 there for the 10-lap shootout. We needed one more set of them.”
LAT ImagesMatthew T. Thacker
In 2010, Busch swept the all-race and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway After his fourth-place finish on Saturday night, Busch indicated surprise that no one saved the option tires for the final stage of the race. “Having the option tire I thought was really neat for the crews to use and everybody used them before that last round,” said Busch. “How about that?”