CONCORD, N.C. — Brad Keselowski tweeted after Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race that NASCAR “made up” a rule regarding the use of special soft “option” tires during the exhibition race.
But the rule that kept the No. 2 team from executing its tire strategy and ultimately ended Keselowski’s chances of winning the race was in black and white: it was listed on the race’s entry blank for drivers and teams.
NASCAR told NBC Sports the rule read as, “One (1) set of ‘Soft’ tires will be available for each team to use at their discretion during the Monster Energy All-Star Race. When choosing to put on ‘Soft’ tires it MUST be a full set of ‘Soft’ sticker tires.”
Following the end of the second stage of the exhibition race, Keselowski’s team elected to use its set of option tires for the third 20-lap stage.
According to Team Penske’s post-race report, Keselowski pitted a second time under caution because of loose lug nuts. Crew chief Paul Wolfe then ordered the team to put the “primary” tires back on Keselowski’s car. The team hoped to save the tires for the final 10-lap stage, when Keselowski would have to start from the rear of the field.
But with Keselowski’s laps on the “option” tires, the stickers had been burned off.
Keselowski was forced to run the rest of the event on the primary tires. He finished eighth in the third stage and advanced to the final round. Keselowksi did not pit during the break after the third stage and restarted first. Kyle Busch started behind Keselowski and with fresher tires was able to pass him for the lead on the first lap.
Keselowski finished the night in ninth.