NASCAR had yet another spectacular race ruined Sunday by its terrible overtime rule.
On the first green-white-checkered finish attempt, Ty Dillon got sideways after running through some oil dry that had not been properly cleaned up, taking out about half the field. Jimmie Johnson, who had just taken the lead from Kyle Larson on the restart, was declared the winner since he had already crossed the overtime line halfway down the backstretch before the caution came out.
Look, I think it’s great that NASCAR has made an attempt to make sure races finish under green. But I’m sorry, it just isn’t enough, and it never has been.
About three times a year I watch ARCA — Daytona, Talladega and Michigan. ARCA has the perfect overtime rule. No race will end under caution. Ever.
It’s simple. If the caution comes out before the white flag, there is at least two laps of green to finish the race. If the caution comes out after the white, the green and white is waved at the same time and the field gets one lap to battle it out.
It doesn’t matter how many times it happens. Caution comes out, they try again.
I’m not aware of any races that went on and on and on and on at the end in ARCA because of repeated attempts.
At Talladega earlier this year, ARCA had a one-lap shootout to end the race. Guess what — they didn’t wreck at the finish. This is a series filled with inexperienced and young drivers. If they can figure it out, why can’t NASCAR?
In the criticism from Sunday’s race at Dover, I heard many people again talking about the restrictor plate races. We need a different rule there to prevent crashes like Austin Dillon into the fence at Daytona a couple years ago.
I beg to differ. Cars getting airborne has nothing to do with a green-white-checkered. Did Chase Elliott go airborne at Talladega on the last lap this year? What about Chris Buescher or Matt Kenseth last year? Yes, these crashes sometime happen at the end of the race, and there is a little more likelihood because people are racing harder, but the cars aren’t going faster. There’s not more air. They get airborne because of aerodynamics, not because the race is ending under green.
NASCAR took some great steps introducing the original green-white-checkered rule. They took another great step by changing it from one attempt to three. Then they ruined it with the stupid overtime rule. Now it’s time to fix it.
If ARCA can do it, NASCAR can too. I call for unlimited attempts, and we always end under green.
When a sport is struggling with attendance both in person and on TV, you can’t afford to leave a bunch of fans going home unhappy because a good race was ruined by a stupid rule.
Let’s fix it, and let’s do it soon. How many races go into overtime? How many have been ended because of crashes after that attempt? Not many. When they had three attempts, only a couple ran out of chances. It’s not going to exceed that very often, and the couple of times it does is worth it to let the fans go home happy.