Restart changes this weekend?

By Joe Dunn

The double file restart, with all the lead lap cars upfront, was hugely popular with Drivers, Fans and the Media at the All Star Race. They guys in the both ate it up like it was their first sight of sliced bread.
The following week, NASCAR held an unprecedented meeting with owners, drivers and crew chiefs to discuss various ideas to improve the sport. After the meeting, it was obvious that NASCAR gave their orders on comments regarding the drug policy, and they of course made sure that everyone knew that the discussed possible changes to the COT.
But what came out quietly at first following the meeting was the talk of the double file restarts. The TV media folks took center stage on it and slowly driver after driver spoke about it being considered. But NASCAR had little to say, until Sunday at Dover. NASCAR passed out an information sheet on the “double file restarts”. It states that all starts will be double file. The race leader will have his choice of which lane to use for the restart. The third-place car will always start in the inside lane. If that had come about before the big meeting, it might be something to discuss at the meeting. But coming out two weeks after the meeting, makes a statement in itself.
Commenting on the sheets, NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton’s comment says a lot. “Not today, but we’re working on some stuff and we’re real close, very close,”
Odds are that the change comes Sunday at Pocono. But what has not been mentioned is if this will happen in all three of the major touring series. Will the Truck series do it Friday night at Texas, or the Nationwide Series Saturday night at Nashville?
This new system will put the lap down cars at a disadvantage as far as getting a lap back the hard way, but they have come about with another twist to get a lap back besides the ’lucky dog’. Cars that are one lap down can choose not to pit, therefore regaining a lap during a caution. In the past they could do this and restart ahead of the leaders and then fight to keep from being put right back down. With this plan, those cars will start, double file behind the lead lap cars, but ahead of the lap down cars.
I like this idea, but I heard a lot of folks talk about this being like the Saturday Night short track restarts. It’s not the ‘Delaware’ restart that most short tracks utilize, but for NASCAR it would signal a huge improvement in the racing action. I hope they do this in all three of the major series and do it now. The NASCAR numbers have been dwindling over the past two seasons and are in dire need of a boost, this looks like a step in the right direction.
News about the garage this week:
Larry Gunselman, owner of the No. 64 entry in the Cup series announced this week that Mike Wallace will attempt to make the field at Pocono. Todd and Geoff Bodine parted with the team after the failed attempt for the Coca Cola 600. The teams entry a few weeks ago at Darlington was pulled at the last minute, but Todd showed up at the track to give Germaine Racing teammate Max Papis advise on qualifying.
I had a chance to speak with Todd, who explained that the entry was pulled because they felt that the car they had at the time, a former Bill Davis Racing Show Car, was just not capable of making the show. At that point, they were able to qualify for only 2 of the 9 races attempted. He said that they had purchased an old red Bull car and that he thought that car would have a better chance of making the show. I don’t know if the new car will be at Pocono, but hopefully Wallace will have a better attempt.
In the Nationwide series, Knoxville, Tennessee’s 18 yr old Trevor Bayne will start his first of an 8 race deal behind the wheel of the No. 99 Aarons dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing. Bayne was a pervious developmental driver for DEI, he ran the NASCAR Camping Word East series last year, finishing fourth in the points standings.
Mary Louise Miller, owner of ML Racing, the No. 70 Foretravel Motor Coach, Chevy has been so impressed with the efforts of their new driver Shelby Howard ( two top 15’s in his first four races) for the part time team that they acquired a new KHI car for this week’s race at Nashville.