By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have been asking for a bigger restart zone, and they’re getting it, beginning with Sunday’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. NASCAR announced on Thursday that the restart zone will double in size, from 70 ft. to 140 ft. The restart zones also will expand for the remaining seven races on the Sprint Cup schedule, with the amount of expansion determined on a track-by-track basis.
NASCAR did emphasize that the restart rules would not change. Restarts would still be double-file, with the race-leading car being the “control car.” The second-place car still is prohibit from taking off before the leader until the start/finish line is reached. Once the front-runners reach the start/finish line, if the leader hasn’t taken off, the second-place car may then overtake the race leader.
Restarts and NASCAR’s call and no-call decisions on questional restarts have been heavilty scrutinized in recent weeks.
Matt Kenseth, seemingly, jumped a late-race restart in the last race of the regular season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September, but was not penalized by NASCAR. The sanctioning body revieved a questionable restart by Jeff Gordon a week later at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., but decided that Gordon pushed the envelope but didn’t jump the restart. Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Sept. 27, Brad Keselowski was penalized for jumping a restart, even though he didn’t pass race leader, Greg Biffle.
“I got the chance to do something again for the first time: the first person to ever be penalized for jumping a restart when I didn’t pass anyone,” Keselowski said. “It’s an entertainment sport, not a fair sport. But we had a great car.”
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