Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mixed feelings on NASCAR possibly changing the Green-White-Checkered rule. UPDATED

As the Gatorade Duels at Daytona International Speedway is just hours away, NASCAR continues to make headlines as they try to get the fans back interested in watch NASCAR. The latest change that could possibly happen as early as this Sunday’s Daytona 500 according to SPEED’s RaceHub is changing the number of attempts at a Green-White-Checkered finish.

A few years ago, NASCAR really started listening to the fans and the competitors to try and find a way to make the races in all three of NASCAR’s National Series (the Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Truck Series) end up green, so NASCAR created the Green-White-Checkered finish.

From the start of the G-W-C Finish being put into place, I was really on board, but it need to be modified, changed just a little bit. The rule originally was basically unlimited G-W-C’s until you got to the white flag lap I believe, but if you have been a NASCAR fan for several years, you might remember that one nightmare race under the lights at Gateway International Raceway with Truck Series. The G-W-C rule was in effect and it played out terribly, it was a nightmare.

Once that Truck Series race at Gateway got to less than 5 laps to go, a caution would come out and NASCAR would say G-W-C, and each time they did it, there would be a wreck somewhere, normally on the backstraightaway and the caution would come out. NASCAR would clean it up and try it again. At one point, you had trucks all over the place including climbing the back wall. It was unbelievable to watch and yet they had to continue until the checkered flag came out.

One of the wrecks had a truck climbing the wall and flipping, I believe it was the late Bobby Hamilton. After that, NASCAR changed the rule to what you see today, a one attempt at a green-white-checkered.

Now fast forward to the present, 2010, NASCAR is once again talking to drivers and people in the garage area to find out if this would be better to change the rule back to basically unlimited until the white flag comes out. The reason why NASCAR is looking at this follows the outrage after last Saturday Night’s Budweiser Shootout where the race ended under caution after a G-W-C finish where Kevin Harvick won the race.

Here’s the way that I see it, I don’t like the rule the way it currently reads now with just one attempt at a G-W-C, but I also don’t like what it us to be neither, meaning unlimited. However what about a compromise, set a number, such as 2 or 3 attempts at a G-W-C that way the fans at least get a shot at a green flag finish. That’s what the fans are there for right, to see a full race under green from start to finish. But NASCAR also has to keep the competitors and the equipment in mind too when changing this rule.

Basically unlimited isn’t going to work nor is one attempt, try 2 or 3 and if the drivers can’t get it down with that, don’t blame NASCAR, they at least really did try and give the fans a green flag finish, but sometimes it just don’t work out.

What do you think, change the G-W-C finish rule and what should it read?

Update: (NASCARmedia Press Release: DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2010) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced a revision to one of its race procedures, allowing a maximum of three restart attempts prior to the White Flag under NASCAR’s Green-White-Checkered flag finish. If the leader has taken the White Flag and the caution flag is displayed, the field is frozen and the race will not be restarted. Previously, there was only one restart attempt.

Great to see that NASCAR at least capped it at 3 attempts, but safety will come into play big time here. Bottom line, its a wait and see type deal, let's see what the Daytona 500 and the entire month on February and March goes before really commenting. And mark my words, this will NOT be the last adjustment in 2010 to this rule or others.