NASCAR Cup: five cars start Atlanta Motor Speedway race on new tires
By AMANDA VINCENT
During the offseason between the 2016 and 2017 race seasons, NASCAR announced a new rule, mandating that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams start races on the set of tires on which they qualified. But five cars — those of Jeffrey Earnhardt, Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt, Derrike Cope and Cody Ware — failed to make qualifying attempts at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 as a result of difficulty getting through pre-qualifying inspection.
Several other teams had difficulty getting through the qualifying process at Atlanta, not rolling their cars out to pit road for qualifying until well after the first of three rounds of qualifying got underway. Expecting the qualifying issues, as they’ve become somewhat common prior to the first non-speedway race of the season, NASCAR announced at Atlanta that teams failing to make a qualifying attempt would be allowed to start the race in the back on new tires.
The trade-off for starting the race on new tires was the loss of pit selection, in addition to starting in the back. Failing to make a qualifying attempt, though, already would result starts in the back and last pit selections.