NASCAR made major changes to its green-white-checkered policy for the 2016 season Thursday, adding an “overtime line” and allowing unlimited attempts instead of a maximum of three.
The rules were clarified in a bulletin entitled “NASCAR Overtime” and apply to all three of NASCAR’s national series.
The “overtime line” will constitute a valid green-white-checkered if the leader passes the line on the first lap under green before a yellow. If a caution flies before the leader passes the overtime line on the first lap under green, it won’t be a valid attempt, and as many subsequent attempts as necessary can be made to secure the finish.
Once an attempt is verified as valid, it will become the only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
Previously, NASCAR’s policy was that if the yellow flew on the second lap of a green-white-checkered finish, that would end the race. If the yellow flew during the first lap, another attempt would be made with a maximum of three. Eight Sprint Cup races had a green-white-checkered finish last year.
The rule was tweaked to one green-white-checkered attempt solely for the race last October at Talladega Superspeedway after the previous restrictor-plate race at Daytona International Speedway ended with a multicar pileup that sent Austin Dillon’s Chevrolet into the catchfence. NASCAR cited safety as a reason for the change.
The Talladega finish, though, featured its own controversy as NASCAR waved off a green-white checkered attempt when it ruled the yellow flag flew before the green. The caution waved again shortly after the second attempt at a green-white checkered finish, ending the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he liked the change:
Full text of NASCAR’s bulletin on green-white-checkered changes:
For all three NASCAR national series, a race may be concluded with overtime, consisting of a new procedure for a green-white-checkered flag finish featuring an “overtime line.” The location of the overtime line will vary by track.
After taking the green on the overtime restart, if the leader then passes the overtime line on the first lap under green before a caution comes out (a “clean restart”), it will be considered a valid green-white-checkered attempt. However, if a caution comes out before the leader passes the overtime line on the first lap under green, it will not be considered a valid attempt, and a subsequent attempt will be made. If necessary, multiple subsequent attempts will be made until a valid attempt occurs.
Once a valid attempt is achieved (clean restart), it will become the only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. If a caution comes out at any time during the valid green-white-checkered attempt, the field will be frozen and the checkered/yellow or checkered/red displayed to cars at the finish line.