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Double-file restarts to return?

Though NASCAR isn't tipping its hand on the subject, don't be surprised if double-file restarts in Sprint Cup racing happen sooner rather than later.

With track position of paramount importance, a consensus of drivers favors the move to double-file restarts—which were used with great success in the May 16 Sprint All-Star Race—simply to keep lapped cars from preventing contenders for the win from racing against each other.

“I feel like the next evolution, or the next thing in restarts, is to get rid of the lapped cars on the inside,” said Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford. “When I'm a lapped car, I don't want to be down there. I don't want to be in the way.

“We've got the lucky dog rule (where the first lapped car in the running order gets a free pass). I think it would be cool for everyone involved if we started the field either in one single or double-file, like we did in the all-star race. I thought that was pretty fun.”

Martin Truex Jr. agrees.

“You've got to have double-file,” Truex said. “You've got to get rid of the lapped cars. The lapped cars—they start on the bottom, and I don't quite understand why. They're not racing the leader anymore, like they used to. They're racing each other, so why not move them back and let the leaders race each other like they should.

“You know, there's a lot places you go—like Darlington, kind of a one-groove track—and lapped cars on the inside can't even race each other because they're so worried about getting out of the leaders' way. You put them back there in line with where they are on the leader board, and I think they'd have a better chance of racing each other, as well as the leaders having a better chance to race, too.

“You go to short-track racing, and you watch double-file restarts. You know what that can cause. It would definitely be more exciting.”

The feeling isn't unanimous, though. Jimmie Johnson, for one, worries that double-file restarts would trap any car that's more than one lap down.

NASCAR's position is noncommittal.

“We are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures, but we have not made any determination on this issue,” is the official word from headquarters in Daytona.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


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