BRISTOL, Tenn. — It hovers. It glows. It has some wondering what is NASCAR doing.

NASCAR’s Chose Drone is as much as social media star — or villain, depending on one’s point of view — as it is a functional part of a race.

With NASCAR racing on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway, it’s not practical to put the choose symbol on the track as it is done at paved tracks, because it will disappear quickly.

Many local short tracks solve the issue by putting a cone on the track during a caution to signify where drivers should chose which lane to restart. The cone is attached to a string so it can be retrieved without someone running on the track.

NASCAR went high tech.

A drone will hover over a part of the frontstretch and have bright orange LED lights in the shape of a box to signal where drivers need to choose their restart lane.

Cup drivers have mixed opinions on this new device.

“It’s funny that we need a drone to chose (lanes),” Kyle Larson said. “I think it’s a little overcomplicated for sure.”

Kevin Harvick likes the drone.

“I just love it,” he said. “I think it’s unique, and I think it’s a little cutting edge instead of a … cone on the racetrack. It gives you something to talk about.”

Aric Almirola said that the drone should be considered for other tracks, particularly night races where it would stand out.

“Those orange boxes on the ground are hard to see when you’re approaching them if you’re not the lead car,” Almirola said. “The further you get back in the field, guys are making the decision at the last minute so it is kind of hard to see where it’s at. We’ve all gotten relatively used to it.”

Said Chris Buescher of the drone: “It’s pretty neat. I think it’s a good way to incorporate something that we can’t do any other way here, so I like it.”


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