Saturday’s race at Michigan International Speedway, the first of a weekend doubleheader at the track, provided the first test of NASCAR’s choose rule in the Cup Series.
The rule compels each driver to choose which line they wish to restart in as they approach a designated area on the track instead of simply lining up double-file by running position.
Two changes were made prior to the race based on the rule’s use in Friday night’s Truck Series race – the location of the choose mark was moved to 200 feet beyond the start/finish line (initial location was 100 feet) and closed pit road after all vehicles have had their initial opportunity to pit to help streamline the process of setting the single-file lineup.
Michigan appeared to be a good test as in recent years drivers have complained the outside line has a distinct advantage on restarts.
How the choose rule shaped the race finish
Late in Saturday’s race, several drivers, including Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace opted out of the outside line and gambled on moving up in the order by choosing the less-populated inside line to gain track position.
Elliott was able to utilize one such restart to briefly take the lead in the race while Keselowski took the gamble on the final restart in overtime and was nearly able to clear…