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Jay Busbee

NASCAR changes rules to finish races under green

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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If ending a game in a tie is like kissing your sister, ending a race under a caution has to be like finishing a date with a polite handshake. I waited all this time for that?

No more, friends! After last weekend's Bud Shootout confusion, in which the race ended with just one attempt at a Green-White-Checker finish, NASCAR will revise the rules to allow for more green-flag finishes.

Beginning with Thursday's Duel 150s, NASCAR will allow for three attempts at a Green-White-Checker finish.

Previously, drivers would have one chance at a green-flag finish. If a wreck then occurred, too bad, the race officially finished under caution and whoever was leading at the time got the win. Now, though, if a caution comes out before the leader takes the white flag signaling one lap to go, NASCAR will line them up and try again. They'll do this three times. If a caution comes out before the leader takes the white flag on the third attempt, the race is over and the leader will be declared the winner.

Great idea, right? I think so, but I can see one huge issue right off the bat: fuel mileage. Suppose that a race goes three or four extra laps at a superspeedway, and everybody starts running out of fuel. You could have a backmarker who's running with a full tank wind his way right up through the empty-tank field.

Jeff Gordon, for one, isn't a big fan of the new rules, for more tangible reasons: "They could do ten green-white-checkereds and we're still not going to make it to the checkered," he said Wednesday. "It just needs to be a one lap, take the green and finish after we attempt one green-white-checkered ... And all you're going to do is set yourself up for another wreck. You give us two laps out there under green and we're going to find a way to wreck."

Be that as it may, I'm thinking fans are willing to trade the possibility of more wrecks for the certainty of a green-flag finish. After all, nobody wants to end a date with a handshake.

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