There will be a caution every 20 minutes in the Camping World Truck Series.
In addition to the implementation of a Chase format for 2016, NASCAR is adding a caution clock to the Truck Series, guaranteeing a caution will happen at least every 20 minutes.
If a caution happens for debris or a crash, the clock is reset back to 20 minutes. Eldora Speedway is not subject to the 20-minute caution clock.
The NASCAR release announcing the caution clock says the clock will be shut off with 20 laps to go at all tracks outside of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway (10 laps to go at those two tracks).
The 20 (or 10) lap rule is hard and fast. If there is 15 seconds left on the caution clock when the leader crosses the line for 20 laps to go, the clock is shut off and there will be no caution.
During the announcement of the Chase format, NASCAR CEO Brian France touted the Chase as a possible way for underdog teams to have success racing for a title. The 20-minute caution clock stacks the deck in the favor of the teams with the best equipment.
While fuel-mileage races – a way for a team without the best equipment that day to sneak a win – aren't eliminated with a caution clock, the odds of them happening are severely diminished. And with cautions guaranteed to happen every 20 minutes, teams with the best equipment can pick up spots more easily on restarts than slower trucks that may need attrition to work their way through the field.
Better-funded teams also have the ability to purchase the maximum number of tires allowed per race. And fresh tires are hugely beneficial when there are a lot of restarts.
The caution clock is also another indirect admission by NASCAR that the competition in the Truck Series (touted by some in the industry as NASCAR's best racing) needs artificial enhancement. Because of the competitive imbalance in the series – 13 drivers ran the entire 23-race schedule in 2015 and the 10th-place driver in the standings finished on the lead lap in 10 races – long green flag runs were a severe showcase of the disparity between the haves and have-nots.
And it's also an easier fix than implementing rules or increasing payouts to help underfunded teams have a better chance against the series' top teams.
The Dash 4 Cash format in the Xfinity Series will also be tweaked. The four Dash 4 Cash races will be at Bristol, Richmond, Dover and Indianapolis. The four races will feature two heat races for qualifying and a main event race. The two-highest Xfinity Series regulars in the heat races are eligible for the Dash 4 Cash prize. Those four drivers will then race for the Dash 4 Cash prize and the highest-finishing driver amongst the four wins the prize.
If a driver wins the Dash 4 Cash twice in a season, he's automatically eligible for the Chase, further adding a level of complication to the Chase format in the Xfinity Series.
(8 p.m. ET update: This post has been updated to reflect a change in the explanation of the caution clock rule based off revised information from NASCAR)
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