NASCAR announced today that several rules were revised, including the controversial one where the drivers were allowed to race back to the start/finish line when the caution comes out on the track. This rule has been revised to eliminate racing...
NASCAR announced today that several rules were revised, including the controversial one where the drivers were allowed to race back to the start/finish line when the caution comes out on the track. This rule has been revised to eliminate racing back to the yellow and it goes into effect starting this weekend at Dover. The rule will affect all three of NASCAR's top series: Cup, Busch and Truck.
The change in the rule comes on the heels of Dale Jarrett's crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon last Sunday. The leaders and those who wanted their lap back did not slow as they came upon the damaged and on-fire No. 88 Ford Taurus.
Jarrett said of the situation last Sunday, "My spotter told be to stay buckled in because (the rest of the field) was coming. I started to get unbuckled, but then as he reminded me of that, I buckled back up."
It once again brought up the issue of the predicament racing back to the caution flag creates for impaired cars and racers. While Jarrett did not garner further injury to his car or himself when the field raced by his crippled Ford, he did plead with his pears, "to use their heads" when a situation like that one arises.
NASCAR apparently agreed and has had enough of the season long conversation about whether or not racing back to the yellow breaks the so called "gentleman's agreement", and whether it is the driver's decision or the sanctioning bodies.
Mike Helton, NASCAR's president, commented, "We have monitored and continually discussed internally the situation regarding racing back to the yellow throughout the season, and have reached the conclusion that it is time to take this step."
Once the caution is displayed, racers will not be able to pass each other to advance their track position. Other changes concerning safety for the competitors and teams will be explained in further detail at Dover International Speedway this Saturday morning for the Busch and Cup teams. And at Fontana's California Speedway for the Truck series on Saturday night.
"We needed to find a better way to do it rather than racing back to the yellow, and the new procedures we are putting in place are the first step in the process," Helton said. "We will monitor and evaluate the new procedures and fine-tune them if needed as we move forward."
Veteran driver Ricky Craven applauds NASCAR for addressing the issue; "I applaud NASCAR for addressing the problem. I've said all along that we shouldn't be racing back to the yellow, so I'm very happy with the decision. I think every driver will breathe a little easier now when the yellow flag comes out. In the past, you've had to race back to the yellow even when you didn't really want to just to maintain your position, because you knew most of the guys behind you weren't slowing down. I'm glad that will finally be one less thing we'll have to worry about. This move is another big step in the right direction by NASCAR in terms of making this sport more safe."
Johnny Benson driver of the No. 10 Pontiac also concurred, "I think it is a good move by NASCAR and probably a few years overdue, but you know they did the right thing and I don't think it is ever too late to do the right thing."