By admin | May 19, 2009
By Richard Allen
During NASCAR’s two versions of all star races, the Sprint Cup Series breaks from its normal routine of having single-file restarts after each caution flag. Instead, the two all star races, the Sprint All Star Challenge and the Budweiser Shootout, employ double-file restarts by having the driver in first place at the time of the restart to line up on the inside line and the driver in second place line up on the outside line, and so on back through the field.
Fox Network analyst, and former NASCAR champion, Darrell Waltrip stated during Saturday night’s All Star Challenge that the series should use the double-file type of restart all throughout the season.
Based on e-mails I have received and message board observations I have made, such a move would be highly popular among fans.
For decades, NASCAR has called for all lead lap cars to line up single-file on the outside line on restarts. Once the lapping of cars has begun lapped cars are allowed to line up on the inside line. With less than 20 laps to go all restarts are to be single-file with lead lap cars at the front and lapped cars in back.
In recent years things have changed that would allow the double-file restart to be used in all races after every caution. First, NASCAR has a much improved scoring system over what it had 20-30 years ago. Now, teams know immediately where their car is running so getting everyone lined up in the proper position should be little if any issue.
Another thing that has changed is the addition of the ‘Lucky Dog’ award which allows the highest running lapped driver to make up a lap no matter how close that driver is to the actual leader of the race. There is no need to line lapped cars up alongside the leader as long as the ‘Lucky Dog’ rule is used.
Also, the use of the green/white/checkered restart at the end of races would be made far more intense with drivers lined up double-file.
There is no reason to not employ the double-file restart. It would be popular and entertaining. So, it will probably never be used. After all, NASCAR can not be expected to change something that makes too much sense to do so, can they?
One driver during the all star weekend said that the double-file restart was fun for the fans but tough on the drivers. Who cares if it’s tough on the drivers?
In case you drivers and rule makers have forgotten, your job is to entertain the fans, not make it easy on yourselves.
Oh well, double-file restarts would be a good thing. So, don’t look for a change anytime soon.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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