Race Weekend Central

Cup Teams No Longer Required to Start Races on Qualifying Tires

NASCAR announced new tire rules for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams on Wednesday (May 16).

Starting with the Coca-Cola 600, teams will no longer have to start the race on the tires on which they qualified. Instead, teams will officially be allotted four sets of tires for practice and qualifying for most race weekends, down from five.

The exception to that rule will be the remaining restrictor-plate races, where teams only receive three sets of tires.  In exchange, teams will get one more set of tires for the race.

For the plate races and “enhanced weekends,” teams will be allowed to carry their qualifying set over to the race.  They will be discarded after qualifying during normal weekends.

Also, there is a small penalty written into the rules for those who fail to set a time during qualifying.  Teams who fail to post a time in qualify will have to carry forward a scuffed set of tires from practice to the race.

Given the unique format of qualifying for this weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star Race (which involves a mid-run tire change), the new rules will not be used this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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I’m getting tired of all these changes.


Yeah, when you read something as dumb as this….and this is the norm. Why don’t these teams rebel in a big way.


It’s time someone noticed “tired.”


If it helps…I did….sorry I didn’t say anything. CLEVER!

Bobby DK

Did you forget the added rear window brace penalty increase and the no gas powered chop saw on pit road rule this week? Thinking the rule book getting fatter than an LosAngeles phone book.


What rule book? Brian thinks he’s Indiana Jones. “I’m making this up as I go.” Brian hasn’t run out of invisible ink yet. When they’re asked about a rule (that’s just been amended) they hear, “It’s in there somewhere.”


Another instance where NASCAR tried to save the teams money, and it got shoved back in the face.


saving money isnt that important. Gotta spend all the money a sponsor was dumb enough to give you. Otherwise how can you justify asking for more?


Well, at least on stupid rule bites the dust.

But I have a GREAT idea for plate racing: After the last time the cars are on track prior to the race, issue restrictor plates randomly. BUT……different plates will have different diameters and no one will know who got the least restrictive plates until the race starts! For years, we assumed Junior always got the “good plate.” Now we can make that part of the fun of watching this ultimately pointless part of auto racing as Matt DiBenedetto laps the field! (And that would make Amy so happy.)

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