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Road America's Nationwide Series event to use different race procedures

By Lee Montgomery

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Nationwide Series director Joe Balash said Thursday that NASCAR has altered some of its procedures for the inaugural Bucyrus 200 at Road America this weekend, including letting teams decide if and when they can put dry tires back on after wet-weather tires have been used.

The Nationwide Series is a rain-tire series, as demonstrated by back-to-back races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal run in the rain. NASCAR dictated when rain tires would go on and off at those races, but Balash said that will be different should wet-weather tires be needed at Road America.

"We’re going to mix things up just a little bit," Balash said. "We’re going to let the teams use more of their strategy to decide when they put the dry tires back on, or if we have to go back to wet tires. We’ll throw a caution the first time and say, ‘Here it is, we’ve got some weather coming in.’

"But we’ve told the teams to be prepared, wet or dry, no matter whether it’s practice, qualifying or the race."

Balash also said NASCAR has mandated a rear light for all cars, which should help with vision in the rain.

"With those procedures, it’ll help the strategy of the race," Balash said. "It’ll also help speed up with race with not having cautions to change over."

Caution laps on road courses take longer than oval tracks, and that’s an even bigger issue at the 4.048-mile Road America course, the longest of any NASCAR track. Balash said NASCAR will use two pace cars to try to cut down on the length of yellow-flag laps.

"We can kind of cut the track in half by using multiple pace cars, and that’ll speed things up a little bit," Balash said. "Wherever the leader is, the closest pace car will pick him up and close up the field. That’ll help us speed up our process."

One pace car will be on the frontstretch as always, with a second in the Carousel.

"We’re going to watch all our procedures," Balash said. "We have the option of doing local yellows, which is our waving blue flag, so we don’t have to put out a full-course yellow. We have the option, if everybody is still on the lead lap, to do a quickie yellow, where everybody pits. Or even if we have some lap-down cars, we can continue to run quickie yellows and pit everybody the first time by."