A major change is coming to restart procedures for both divisions of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour.
Beginning with next weekend’s Aaron’s 125 at Florence Motor Speedway, drivers will have an option to pick either the top or bottom lane for a restart through the choose cone rule as opposed to lining up double file based on their running order position prior to a caution.
The CARS Tour has not had a choose cone since its inception in 2015, but series founder Jack McNelly said the growing popularity of the rule amongst the drivers made it inevitable that the change would be implemented at some point.
“We always pride ourselves on listening to our drivers, and one of the main things they’ve requested is a choose cone,” McNelly said. “This rule especially makes sense with tracks that don’t have a lot of grip. We believe having a choose cone puts more control in the driver’s hands on restarts and prevents them from getting trapped in an unfavorable situation.”
McNelly added the season-opening Puryear Tank Lines 255 at Southern National Motorsports Park convinced him to put a choose cone in place for the rest of the season.
With no top groove developing at Southern National during either the Late Model Stock Car or Pro Late Model Tour features, McNelly said drivers were starting to intentionally slow down prior to a competition caution so they could have the inside line for the restart, resulting in scenarios that posed risks to the competitors and their cars.
The choose cone eliminates the need for drivers to play strategy around the competition yellows but also emphasizes it in other areas. A driver in second place can choose to line up behind the leader for a restart, while third place could take the outside lane to have a better shot at the leader.
Procedures for the choose cone in LMSC and PLM Tour events will follow a similar pattern to weekly short track events. Drivers must stay in their chosen lane after passing the cone and must not collide with it, otherwise they will be sent to the rear of the field.
McNelly believes the already strong on-track competition provided by the CARS Tour will only get bolstered by the choose cone, adding that the diverse set of tracks visited by the series should create some interesting mindsets on how to approach restarts.
“We’re going to let the drivers do what they want to on these restarts,” McNelly said. “You’re going to have tracks with multiple lanes and some that only have one lane. If the drivers are uncomfortable up top and they all want to go to the bottom, we’ll have a single-file restart. This is in their hands.”
The drivers of the LMSC Tour will have their first chance to test out the choose cone rule when the green flag flies for the Aaron’s 125 at 7 p.m. ET.
-CARS Tour Press Release