Dale Earnhardt Jr says tyres make Charlotte NASCAR strategy predictable

Dale Earnhardt Jr believes the limited drop-off in tyre performance will make strategy predictable in the closing laps of Sunday's 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte

Dale Earnhardt Jr says tyres make Charlotte NASCAR strategy predictable

The Hendrick Motorsports driver won last Saturday's non-points Sprint Showdown after choosing to stay out while in the lead, his rivals never getting chance to challenge him despite some of them being on fresh rubber.

Later that day during the All-Star race, Earnhardt's crew chief Steve Letarte favoured track position over new tyres in strategic decisions, resulting in his driver restarting fourth for the final segment, which he finished in fifth.

Earnhardt believes the same will happen this weekend in NASCAR's longest race, as tyre drop-off is not significant enough to make sacrificing track position worthwhile.

"At a place like this, tyres are just as quick when they've got 30 or 40 laps on them as they are when they're brand new, pretty much," said Earnhardt. "And if you've got 20 guys on the lead lap and you're in the top 10, man you're not going to come down pit road and give up that track position if you've only got 20 or 30 laps on your tyres.

"To me, it's not a negative or a positive. You line-up cars to race and that's how the race goes. That's the way it ends and you can appreciate it for the strategy and whoever plays it the best."

Earnhardt reckons that given the tyre situation and how increasingly difficult overtaking has become, given the aero dependency of the cars, there is potential for Sunday's event to turn into a fuel-mileage race once again.

"I think all the races have great chances of becoming fuel mileage races because the tyres are so good and the tyres aren't that important anymore at a lot of these racetracks, so you don't see as many guys coming down pit road to get four tyres to come out and beat everybody at the end of a race," said Earnhardt.

"Most times at these racetracks, the tyres are doing such a good job that guys are going to stay out. They don't want to give up track position because when you get back in the pack with new tyres, you really can't go anywhere."

Earnhardt lost victory in this race a year ago after running dry while in the lead out of the final corner while trying to stretch his fuel mileage in the closing stages.

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Author Diego Mejía
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