Officials Change Pitting Under Caution
March 16,  2004

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NASCAR officials ended the practice of racing back to the caution flag last season, and now during cautions they are closing pit road for an additional lap in order to sort out the field. Here are two veteran Nextel Cup driver's reactions to these rules:

KEN SCHRADER, Driver, #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge:

"Personally, I think NASCAR's ruling to freeze the field under caution is working fine. I'm very pleased that they continue to make the sport safer. Allowing an additional lap before the lead lap cars can make their pit stops is a great rule because, as it used to be, if you were on the lead lap but a ways behind the leader, you couldn't afford to slow up that much when the caution displayed because you had to close up quickly, within a lap, in order to have a competitive pit stop. The change slows everybody down.

"Now NASCAR gives an additional lap after the caution waves for the field to close up. That way you can safely slow your car down as soon as the caution is displayed because you have the additional lap to catch up with the leaders. As far as the 'deal' at Rockingham with cars getting caught on pit-road as the caution came out, it is my understanding that the cars on pit road had already crossed the start/finish line and were servicing their cars when the caution happened, therefore they were still on the lead lap the moment the caution waved."

KYLE PETTY, Driver, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge:

"The bottom line is getting everybody to slow down under caution. Yeah, there are some things they (NASCAR) have needed to change or adjust but it still boils down to slowing everybody down. That has worked perfectly and, no doubt in my mind, they will get the rest of the stuff worked out too.

"Look at it this way. One controversy with two cars under caution means there were 41 cars that had no problems at all. There are always going to be things that pop up and you think, 'Hey, didn't consider that possibility,' but you handle that situation and fix it for the next time. All the controversy in the world doesn't compare to being that guy sitting in the middle of the turn with the engine dead, and everybody running as hard as they can at you. I think every driver in the Cup garage would agree with that. We can work the other stuff out."

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