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Double-file restarts won’t happen because they make too much sense

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.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “Double-file restarts won’t happen because they make too much sense”

  1. Charles Says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I have a idea that I think would be a good for Nascar and help with rating, excitment!

    Lets start having a race like last Saturday, a non points race with the same format as the All Star Race! Do away with say for instance one race at each track, not all the races but say mabe 10 races a year for starters and do it a certain tracks, especially some that have low attendence and TV rating, let the other race be the standard 400 or 500 mile race!

    For example let say have one race at Pocono or Dover Deleware be a All Star Format, then let the other race at the same track be the standard 400 or 500 miler!

    This makes more greater intertainment, this Chase format to me is hurting racing and making it boring! At least in most races it makes for better racing instead of a stradgety session!

    At least lets try something different if it doesnt work then revert back!

    My other suggestion is start paying points on laps led at the most boring races would make for better racing!

  2. dbarnes Says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I totally agree. This would certainly make for better restarts and prevent the leader from getting away on all the cookie cutter tracks while the rest of the lead lap cars are trying to get around a lapped machine. As you have stated, this is a great way to improve racing - so I’m sure it will never be instituted in point’s races.

  3. Allen Says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    How about caution flag laps not counting in lets say the last 50 laps. That would do away with the need for that green white checkers business. Its aggravating to go to a race and see the run the whole thing under caution. It wasn’t that bad back in the day when we had short cautions and they raced back to the line. But with all the new wrinkles( ie freezing the field, pitting lead lap car on a separate lap), it takes forever under caution. It’s nothing for them to have double digit lap cautions at Bristol and Martinsville. And only once in a blue moon will they through the red flag out( and only when someone they don’t want to win is in the lead I might add).

    Point being stuff like double file restarts and caution flag laps no being scored was created “for the fans”. So why aren’t all the races “for the fans”.

    As a side note I’d have to say the All Star Race is but a shadow of its former self. They have started to count caution flag laps in all but the final segment, and they stopped inverting the field. That was the “recipe for mayhem” that made the Winston.

  4. Jimbo Says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Rich, if the whole point of having a race is, as you say, “to entertain the fans”, then what you suggest is the way to go. If, however, the reason to have a race is to see which team performs the best and beats all the other competitors, then maybe your ideas are not so good.
    I’m evidently in the minority when I say that the reason I have followed racing for over 40 years is because I like to see teams use skill and tactics to beat the other guy. Most of the changes NASCAR has made in the recent past have been made to manipulate the the running of the race. NASCAR finds it necessary to do this because fans who know nothing about racing or who have been “big NASCAR fans” since last Tuesday demand that something be done so they are not bored. How is it fair to have the 2nd place car automatically put alongside the leader after every caution. How is a “lucky dog” fair to anybody. When the best car does not win because the race was manipulated for the entertainment of the fans, you do not have a race, you have a show, you have an exhibition, you have a play that was presented for your enjoyment. What you did not have was a sporting event.

  5. GR Lapidus Says:
    May 31st, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I could not agree more with Jimbo’s comments. Spec cars differentiated only by their front grille and headlight decals, “competition yellows”, lucky dog free pass, questionable cautions, double file restarts, etc. NASCAR is more akin to professional wrestling than to real motor racing.