During Sunday morning's drivers meeting, NASCAR President Mike Helton reiterated to drivers NASCAR's policy on not racing back to the yellow flag under caution conditions. Helton noted that last season drivers had gotten into a groove with the new rule, and all seemed to be working fine. However, this season he was concerned that perhaps drivers had forgotten the intent and new penalties faced racers who were not taking the rule seriously.
"We are going to step up the enforcement of that (yellow flag rule)," said Helton. "You are going to end up on pit road, you are going to end up being black flagged, I don't know how long you will sit there."
"We are going to react and we are going to react hard," Helton further stated.
Helton also took time to stress that the rule is in effect to protect the safety of not only the drivers but as well as the safety workers working on track. After a tragic accident at Daytona at a non-NASCAR sanctioned event during Speedweeks, where a safety worker was struck by a race car and killed, NASCAR wants to make sure that no such heartache ever happens in their premium series, the Nextel Cup.
The "lucky dog" rule, which has come into some criticism after yesterdays Busch event, will continue as per usual. Helton apologized for some of the Busch confusion Saturday but assured drivers of how the rule works and NASCAR's continuing efforts to perfect the rule and clarify their decisions.
Much of the confusion arises when a yellow flag flies in the middle of green flag pit stops, and how the field is then realigned. Basically, one car is allowed a "free pass" when a caution comes out. This is the first car one lap down. That car is based upon its position at the time of the yellow flag, not from whatever circumstances may result after the caution waves.
Helton also reminded racers that scoring monitors are timing their speeds after a yellow flag.
"Slow down," Helton cautioned. "Scoring monitors can tell if you are still hauling it."