Race restarts set to be reviewed by NASCAR
After Joey Logano accused Aric Almirola of brake-checking on a restart during the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 21, NASCAR has made restarts a point of emphasis. The sanctioning body remind competitors of its restart policy during drivers' meetings last weekend at Pocono Raceway for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Gander Outdoors Truck series and Iowa Speedway for the Xfinity Series.
“We haven’t gone over these [restart rules] in a while so thought this would be a good time to bring these back up,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said, according to NASCAR.com. “We expect the leader to maintain constant speed once he brings the field into the restart zone. We expect the second-place car not to lay back on the leader more than the door numbers, and if the second row’s laying back trying to affect what’s going on the front row, that’s also going to be a violation."
According to the NASCAR rule book, the race leader is supposed to maintain a cosistent speed inside the restart zone, until he decides to restart the race within that restart zone. After the NHMS race, Logano contended that Almirola, as the race leader, brake checked him in the restart zone. Almirola was warned but not penalized by NASCAR officials.
Almirola contended that he didn't brake-check Logano. He said he just didn't restart when Logano tried to bait him into doing so.
Kyle Busch acknowedged in increase in game-play on restarts, blaming the increase on NASCAR's new aerodynamic rules package in the Cup Series. According to Busch, drivers are trying to one-up the competition on restarts, because passing is more difficult after the first three laps following restarts.
“There’s certain gamesmanship that’s being played on restarts. It’s been a lot more this year,” Busch said, according to a Racer.com article. Everybody’s understanding that, realizing that. I would agree that it’s about time NASCAR stepped in or all of us were going to continue to see all what we could get away with.”
Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, believes that gamesmanship will continue until NASCAR cracks down on restart rules violations.
“They start dropping the hammer on us, that stuff will stop,” Johnson said, according to Racer.com. “I’ve heard Mike Helton stand up there before and say, this is your warning, and we all took him seriously. So, if they deliver that message, then I really believe that stuff will slow down, and as soon as they nail someone, it’ll all go away.”