NASCAR alters overtime line placement, effective immediately

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

NASCAR is moving the overtime line to a familiar place – the start/finish line.

The line, a point on the track designated to end the possibility of additional overtimes once a race leader crosses it following an overtime restart, had previously been found somewhere at or shortly after the halfway distance of a lap. Most tracks saw the line either on the backstretch or the entrance of Turn 3.

Now the leader will have to complete a full lap of NASCAR Overtime for a race to draw to a close with a caution – a process that makes the rule mirror the former green-white-checkered finishing rules seen from 2010-15, with the addition of unlimited attempts.

“NASCAR has been looking at the overtime procedure for quite some time,” Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told NASCAR.com. “After many discussions with key figures throughout the industry, we recognize that having the start-finish line serve as the standard overtime Line position will benefit the race – and, most importantly, our fans.

“We are implementing this immediately, starting with this weekend’s races at Watkins Glen International.”

The move comes after a summer that’s seen the line placement lead to multiple controversial ending. The most recent example came just two weekends ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a delay from race control saw the yellow flag fly after race-winner Kasey Kahne crossed the line in overtime, despite the wreck that necessitated the caution appearing to occur multiple seconds earlier.

“This has been something we’ve discussed for a while now, and it’s a balance to ensure the most fair competition for our drivers and the best race for the fans,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said. “… Obviously, it’s been a hot topic of late, and we’re aware of the discussions. We take that very seriously, especially the fan feedback. We’ve shown that we’ll act decisively if we think it’ll result in the best racing for the fans.

“Much like the original placement of the Overtime Line, the industry had a voice in this decision. It was certainly a collaborative effort between NASCAR and the industry. We’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s been the case for awhile now.”

Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. noted in a tweet that the driver’s council were the ones to foster the creation of the former overtime rules. The two-time Daytona 500 winner also admitted that the format “failed as a solution.”

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