The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: More Reactions to G-W-C...And Double-File Restarts by John Potts -- Thursday August 25, 2011

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OK, before we get to the questions and comments, this has absolutely nothing to do with racing, but a little about that earthquake this week. Some folks here in southeastern Kentucky felt it, but I didn’t. And I usually notice those things. Having spent three years in northern Japan more than 50 years ago, I am still sensitive to the ground moving around.

Anyway, it’s my understanding that President Obama will announce that it occurred along an obscure crack in the earth known as “Bush’s Fault.”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Back to business…

About last week’s dissertation on the G-W-C finish… Jerome Ranger says, “I have one gripe. I am so tired of hearing that ‘NASCAR listened to the fans’ or ‘NASCAR changed it because the fans wanted it.’ If NASCAR was really listening to the fans, the Chase would be gone.

And Cdakost says, “I’m a NASCAR fan. I like G-W-C. I wish we could do it as many times as it takes to finish. Most G-W-C don’t end in ‘crazy wrecks.’ I also like the Chase.”

Well, there’s two separate opinions, and that’s what makes this old world go around, in my opinion. It would be pretty dull if we all felt the same way. As to the first comment, I think NASCAR only listens to the fans when they feel like it’s to their advantage. In regards to the Chase, my personal feeling is that I don’t like it. I think the title should be decided over a complete season. It’s obvious that Brian France or somebody just as dense came up with this gimmick to pump up interest in the championship; after all, it jumpstarts at the same time the NFL begins and the baseball playoffs loom each year.

In regards to the G-W-C, as I’ve stated before, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. My biggest complaint is with the “Double File Restart, Shootout Style!” philosophy, at least in the last ten laps of an event.

The infamous David Ragan/David Reutimann crash at Watkins Glen continues to spark different reactions to the green-white-checkered rule.

Anybody who follows this sport and has seen it in action knows exactly what happens. It places a penalty on the guy who is running second.

Think about this – the leader gets to pick inside or outside. Naturally, he’s going to take the side which is most to his advantage. That puts second place on the other side. Whichever the leader chooses, the remainder of the lineup is set with the odd number spots on the inside, even numbers on the outside.

Regardless, this means that the driver running second is alongside the leader, sitting on the least-preferred line, and there is someone who was running third or fourth on the preferred line right behind the leader.

I’ve seen it on short tracks outside of NASCAR as well, and it seems that more times than not, the driver who was second gets shuffled back at least one spot as somebody else follows the leader into the first turn. I really feel that, in the final laps, this situation leads to some really frantic driving and that leads to some of these wild situations that could be avoidable.

As I said last week, we didn’t seem to have this problem with our “last five laps under green” policy in the old American Speed Association.

Could the difference have been that we were starting single-file and the order going into the first turn was the same as before the caution flag flew? I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s worth some consideration.

Do away with the double-file restarts, at least in the final ten laps, but don’t go back to the policy of putting the lapped cars on the inside. In those final laps, but them on the tail of the lineup. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
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Bill B
08/25/2011 07:19 AM

Yep, at a track like Martinsville I’d rather be 9th (maybe even 11th or 13th) on the inside lane than 4th on the outside lane. Is that fair? IMO, the double file restarts at the end of the race puts too much weight on that final restart. You run the whole race in the top 5 and then you get shuffled back on a restart crapshoot double file restart. How’s that fair to the competitors. And, at the road courses, those double file restarts put everyone in a bad place before the green flag is waved.

robert c
08/25/2011 10:10 AM

I agree about the double-file restarts within the last ten laps. It seems that the G-W-C is happening so often that I find myself skipping most of the race and just tuning in for the last few laps. If almost every race is going to come down to a G-W-C and everybody gets a chance to catch up and do a double-file restart, why bother with the prior part of the race. Anything I miss, I can catch in videos or one of the wrap-up shows. I’d be interested in knowing the statistic on how often the leader going into a double-file restart G-W-C wins the race since it sets up a situation for everyone behind the leader to run over anyone in their way in “one of them racin’ deals”. NASCAR did a good thing when they went back to their old start times for CUP on Sundays (at least for us East coasters) and then they implement something that discourages watching most of the race.

08/25/2011 10:49 AM

While they are exciting, G_W_C’s pretty much guarantee a wreck filled finish to a race. It also ends up with the race determined by fuel mileage. I wish they would bring back the larger fuel tanks.

08/25/2011 12:22 PM

G.W.C, Should be sprint car style. Leader out front by themselves and double file behind with second place getting to pick the lane. Even with the leader getting to pick the lane its still not as big an advantage as they deserve.

08/25/2011 04:52 PM

Love the GWC X 3 (maybe should be the GGWC X 3) Sure has saved a lot of dull race’s. Also with these cars today & the arrow issue’s if we do a single file restart the leader is just gonna be gone in 3 laps (dullll) & it’s over…John are you working with Brain Farce on this cause it sure sounds like something he’d come up with..We need nothing more to dull up Nascar for the fans PS Maybe single file on the Road course

Doug in Washington (State)
08/25/2011 06:18 PM

What’s also a problem is the “Jumping the restart” rule. The 2nd place car should be able to hit the gas the second the green flag flies. If the leader doesn’t go, spins the tires, lays back, whatever, and the 2nd place car crosses the line first and then can take the line away, that’s a good restart in my book. Making the 2nd place car start behind gives the 1st place car too much control of the restart. The only time I think the 2nd place car must be EVEN or BEHIND the nose of the lead car is before the green flag flies. Once the green flag flies, he can punch it irregardless of what the lead car does. And the flagman should control the start, not the leader.