LOUDON, N.H.—The consensus among Cup drivers is that the tweak to the restart rules introduced for the first Chase race last Sunday at Chicagoland has made a potentially gnarly situation less complicated.
After the leader of the race, who controls the restart, picks up the pace in the restart zone, the flagman waves the green, and drivers begin racing without changing lanes until they reach the start/finish line. No longer does the lead car have to reach the stripe first—a requirement before the change made last Sunday.
Accordingly, NASCAR no longer has to make a judgment call as to whether the lead driver spins his tires, misses a shift or has another issues that would excuse the second-place car from getting to the line first. The rule change also makes it less likely for the second-place car to stack up its line trying to stay behind the leader.
“I think NASCAR did a good job by simplifying the restart rules,” Carl Edwards said. “I think it makes it easier, because the leader gets to start, and after that it’s a race. That’s probably the simplest way to do it with the double-file restart.”
The restart rule won’t concern Edwards on Sunday—at least not early in the Sylvania 300. The driver of the No. 99 Fordo qualified 26th, deepest in the field among Chase competitors.
“For me, I’ll have to get to the front row to worry about it,” Edwards said wryly. “We’ve got a long ways to go here.”