Brickyard 400 Will Feature New NASCAR Green Flag Finish Rule INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, July 16, 2004 -- Fans attending the 11th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been assured by NASCAR that they will get at least one ...
Brickyard 400 Will Feature New NASCAR Green Flag Finish Rule
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, July 16, 2004 -- Fans attending the 11th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been assured by NASCAR that they will get at least one chance to see a green-flag finish should a caution flag come out near the end of the scheduled 160 laps.
NASCAR changed its rules July 15 to a "green-white-checkered" finish format for both its NEXTEL Cup and Busch series races.
This means that if there is a caution period near the end of a race, and the track cannot be opened for green-flag racing before the white flag would normally wave to signal the last lap, the final two laps would be delayed until the track is race-worthy again. When racing resumes and the cars reach the start-finish line, the drivers will take the green for start of the penultimate lap and then the white flag signaling the final lap.
In the Brickyard, the green would thus be shown to start Lap 159 and the white for Lap 160.
But should there be another reason to throw the yellow during the final two-lap restart, the race would end at that time.
"I think it's a good thing," said Jeff Gordon, three-time Brickyard 400 champion.
"It's been coming for a long time. We talked about it; we heard about it for a long time. I don't think it is a bad thing."
Gordon was the victim of fans' wrath at Talladega earlier this season when the race ended under caution. He beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the line as the caution flag waved, and crews were unable to complete the cleanup before the white flag came out, assuring Gordon the victory.
"I think our sport teeters on the hardcore racing side of it versus the entertainment value of it," Gordon said during testing July 12 at the Speedway.
"When we end too many of our races under caution, I feel like it robs the fans of what they go through, of what they spent to come and be at these races. And I don't know if it necessarily is going to change the outcome very often.
"I was hoping when we have it like this, we won't have anymore cautions at the end of the race."
Two of the first 10 Brickyard 400s ended under caution -- Dale Jarrett's victory in 1996 and Gordon's victory in 1998.
The rule has been a part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since its inception.
The new procedure, according to NASCAR President Mike Helton, will eliminate the need for a red flag to stop the race so it could end under green.
"The green-white-checkered format is an attempt to achieve everyone's goals -- a green flag finish," Helton said.
The procedure will go in effect in NEXTEL Cup Series racing on July 25 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The Brickyard 400 will be the third race for the rule.
Brickyard 400 tickets: Tickets for the 11th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8 are on sale.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.