Days after NASCAR's gutsy yellow flag rule change, which disallowed competitors to race back to the caution flag - NASCAR brass gathered at Dover, Delaware to make clarifications to the rule change. Under the rule change, one racer per caution...
Days after NASCAR's gutsy yellow flag rule change, which disallowed competitors to race back to the caution flag - NASCAR brass gathered at Dover, Delaware to make clarifications to the rule change.
Under the rule change, one racer per caution period will be allowed to get their lap back under yellow flag conditions. NASCAR met with drivers and crewmembers in a closed-door meeting this morning to further illuminate the new procedure. Media was not allowed in the meeting, but afterwards Jim Hunter, VP Corporate Communications, David Hoots, Event Director and John Darby, Winston Cup Series Director made themselves available for questions from the media.
The main "amendment" to the announcement made earlier this week, was that NASCAR would allow one car to gain their lap back. Previously, lap down drivers raced back to the yellow flag, and occasionally the race leader slowed to make that possible.
Under the new rule set, the first car a lap down will automatically regain their lap, no matter where they are on track in proximity to the leader.
"For 53 or 54 years, the competitors in Winston Cup racing, one of the elements they've found useful and have been able to take advantage of through that time period is the ability to gain a lap back once the caution's displayed," said John Darby.
"As everybody in here realizes, that has evaporated a lot in the last couple years, but it was still an element of Winston Cup racing that the competitors could take advantage of from time to time.
"To help soften that blow, we will move one car, every caution period, back around one lap -- with the exception of the last 10 laps of the race."
On Thursday, NASCAR announced that racing back to the caution flag would no longer be legal, other parts of the change include: once the yellow flag is displayed all drivers must reduce speed and line-up single file behind the leader; Drivers who pass while reducing their speed will be given an opportunity to return to their correct spot, if they do not NASCAR will correct it for them; Drivers speeding under the yellow may be penalized and lose track position; Any driver who was in the incident that caused the caution will restart in the position they are able to return to the race without advancing their position.
NASCAR also made an amendment to its pit road rules. All cars must come onto pit road single-file, and any passing must be made on the right. Passing to the left will be an automatic penalty of restarting at the end of the longest line.
"It's going to add some more elements that we're going to have to make more judgment calls during the event, but I think we're capable of doing that," David Hoots said. "It's just working through the logistics of it."
Darby went on to say that the new procedures were "a work in progress" and they had a close eye on how things were going to play out this weekend at Dover. A main concern is next weekend's restrictor plate race at Talladega, where more aggressive racing is commonplace.
"David (Hoots) and I are going to get lots of sleep before we get to Talladega," Darby said.