Friday, April 27 2012 @ 12:47 PM EDT
Mooresville, N.C. – Effective immediately, the CARS Pro Cup Series will abandon its live pit stop format in favor of a mid-race intermission at lap 125 during each event.
The decision is a cost-saving measure for teams currently involved in the series and in an effort to attract new teams. Beginning with the race at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C., on May 5, teams will no longer be required to provide full pit crews.
“It was a difficult decision for us to make, but I feel like this is the right decision for the future of the series,” said CARS Pro Cup Series Director Jack McNelly. “We have a few things in the works that will make the mid-race intermission just as interesting as live pit stops.”
One of those things involves the payout of the purse. The purse will be paid out in two segments, with the field at the end of the first segment receiving a “to-be-determined” percentage from the overall purse. The overall purse will not change.
“I know the drivers in this series. From lap 110 to lap 125 they are going to go as hard as they can to earn the money that will be paid out at halfway,” McNelly said.
Another change to the CARS Pro Cup Series format comes after the mid-race intermission. The first eight cars, if on the lead lap, could restart the race as they finished the first segment, they could be totally inverted with the leader of the first segment starting eighth, or the first eight teams may draw for their starting position in the second segment.
“We won’t announce which of the three options, straight-up, invert or scramble, we’re going to use until the mid-race intermission,” said McNelly. “Nobody, not the teams or the fans, will know until we announce it at the intermission. We think that will make things much more interesting for everyone involved.”
Teams will still be allowed to pit at any time during the course of the race, but they will not be allowed to change tires before the mid-race intermission unless they have a flat tire. During the mid-race intermission teams will be allowed to make whatever changes they need to, with the only requirement being that they must change at least two tires.
More details about the changes to the race format will be revealed during the driver and crew chief meeting at Orange County Speedway on May 5. If there are any questions, please contact the CARS Pro Cup Series office at 704-662-9212.