THE TOP 15 STORIES OF 2009: #14 DOUBLE FILE RESTARTS

Every time I have an excuse to put in a scene from “Swingers,” I try and do it. My editor usually takes out the clips. But when you talk about doubling down and have an excuse to see Vince Vaughn when he weighed 37 pounds, we’re all the big winners.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention double file restarts, which got me thinking about doubling down, which you should always do on 11.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Back in June, NASCAR implemented double-file restarts for cars on the lead lap. Per the NASCAR website.

The race leader will have the choice of starting on the inside or outside lane, but the third-place car will always start on the inside line. Lane selection will be made as the leader crosses the start-finish line with one lap to go before taking the green flag. The second-place car cannot pass the first-place car before the start-finish line on the restart.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The restarts are here to stay. At first, teams were worried how these restarts would work at smaller tracks. But, there weren’t any major issues.
What we did see was track position becoming another variable in the outcome of a race. Some drivers who were running really well on the lower half of the track got stuck on the upper half of the track during a restart and subsequently lost several spots in a hurry. The new king summed it up well on NASCAR.com.

“At times, when you’re the leader …, you’re not going to like it,” three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said about the rule’s proposal on Sunday. “But the other 42 guys are going to love it. I think we all need to step back and say, ‘If it’s good for our sport, if it helps the show, we need to seriously consider it.’”

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
The NASCAR Mafia insists the fan advisory board created to make comments and criticisms were key cogs in getting the concept off the ground. From the NASCAR news release on the subject.

"We’ve heard the fans loud and clear: ‘double-file restarts — shootout style’ are coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. "This addition to the race format is good for competition and good for the fans."

NASCAR also credits the board with standardized start times. And while there are many who would argue the advisory board has a muted voice, NASCAR has gone on the record touting the board’s clout. As the sport deals with a series of issues, it might be the best forum to get the voice of the fans in a place where they can actually be heard.

NASCAR adopts double-file restarts in Cup Series races (NASCAR)