Double File restarts should spice up action The Thursday morning announcement by NASCAR that said they planned to implement double file restarts, effective this Sunday at the Pocono race, has already been lauded as a major move in the right direction by both the racing media and the fans.
NASCAR tried the double wide restart during their recent Spring All-Star Weekend at the Lowe's Motor Speedway where it created a brand new level of excitement especially at the end of the race. The response was immediate. There were reports of NASCAR receiving telephone calls and emails from the fans telling them that they would like to see these restarts on a full time basis. The racing blog sights also went into overdrive while singing the praises of the idea.
From a prepared statement Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO, said "we've heard the fans loud and clear: double file restarts are coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This addition to the race format is good for competition and good for the fans."
The procedure for the double file restarts are as follows:
Following a caution flag the race leader has the option of restarting on the inside or the outside lane.
The second place driver then restarts next to the leader
Regardless of where the race leader chooses to restart, drivers in the odd number positions, (3d-5th-7th etc), will restart on the inside lane.
Drivers in the even number positions, (4th-6th-8th etc), will restart on the outside lane.
All restarts will use this same format regardless of the remaining number of laps in the race. In other words the traditional single file restart with ten or less laps left in the race no longer applies.
The race leader will continue to control the timing of restarts in a designated zone at the track.
The remaining cars will be required to stay in line until they reach the start/finish line.
The double file restart procedure will also impact drivers on the lead lap in the following ways:
The first eligible car a lap or more down will continue to earn one lap back following a caution flag which is known as a free pass or in some cases the "Lucky Dog."
The free pass will remain in effect for the entire race. In the past the free pass was not awarded with ten or less laps left in the race.
Lapped cars choosing to remain on the track will be waved around the caution car and will restart the race in respective track position, thus picking up a lap to the leader provided that the leader comes down pit road.
The double file restarts will remove lapped cars from behind the pace car. This eliminates slower cars on the tail of the lead lap from restarting in front of the race leader.
NASCAR has used double file restarts in their Camping World East and West Series with very favorable results. The policy has often created some very exciting race endings during their events.
NASCAR will be carefully watching the new restart system this Sunday during the Sprint Cup race at the Pocono Speedway and they will be prepared for the need of a little fine tuning here and there with the new policy. Once that's done there are plans to implement the double file restart in the their Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. by Dave Grayson