With restarts turning controversial in recent months, seemingly more specifically, NASCAR’s calls and no-calls, and then calls again of jumped restarts, the sanctioning body announced prior the Sunday’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway that restart zones would be expanded at tracks hosting races throughout the remainder of the season, including Dover. Dover’s restart zone was doubled in size; according to the NASCAR announcement, the specific increase in the sizes of restart zones at other tracks would be determined on a track-by-track basis.
During media availability throughout the Dover weekend after the restart announcement, driver after driver applauded the change. They pretty much unanimously said that the expanded restart zones would give them, specifically race leaders, more control by giving race leaders a bigger area in which to choose exactly when to restart the race.
Will that really solve the perceived problem, though? I kind of doubt it. Sure, it gives race leaders more control over exactly when they restart, but these guys are competitors, and as long as that competitive nature is present, a second-place guy, or gal, is going to try to take advantage of any situation he/she can to get ahead. That’s just the nature of competition, folks. And, maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t a bigger restart area give second and third place drivers a bigger area and, therefore, more opportunities to jump restarts?
The only issue I’ve seen regardiing restarts recently is a NASCAR consistency issue when it comes to doling out penalties for jumped restart this week but not the next, or vice versa. NASCAR made an example of Brad Keselowski at New Hampshire Motor Speedway the weekend before Dover. I’m thinking that could have been the end of this controversy, that is if NASCAR vowed to stick to that stance of penalizing for jumped restarts anytime, anywhere. I get the sanctioning body’s relucance to make a late-race call that would determine the outcome of races, but rules are rules, right?
Those are just my two cents. What are yours? Speak to us on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner