DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR’s new overtime procedure ended with a wreck and the Sprint Unlimited finishing under caution.
That’s similar to what happened five times last season, including in last year’s Daytona 500
So did the new green-white-checkered format work?
“I thought it was fine,’’ said Martin Truex Jr., who was collected in the last-lap accident. “Like anything else, we’re going to have to wait for the fans’ reaction because we didn’t end under green. I’m sure that there are going to be some people unhappy with it already.’’
NASCAR altered its green-white-checkered policy before this season. Once the race goes to overtime, the field must reach a point on the backstretch under green to make that attempt count. If there is a caution before that point on the restart lap, then another attempt is made. The process continues until the leader reaches that point under green.
Saturday night, the field reached that point under green and then a six-car car crash occurred on the final lap.
“I think the concept is good,’’ said Matt Kenseth, who was involved in that last-lap crash. “Tonight is hard to say. We still wrecked. Typically we don’t wreck until the second lap at a superspeedway anyway. I think the concept is certainly good and it will avoid things like we had at Talladega last year.’’
Last fall during the Chase, Jimmie Johnson spun as the field headed for its lone attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR ruled that because the green flag hadn’t been waved and the field had not crossed the start/finish line, the attempt didn’t count and made the one attempt after that. After the field took the green, Kevin Harvick made contact with Trevor Bayne, helping trigger an 11-car crash caused the race to end under caution.
“The procedure, it really wasn’t any different,’’ Patrick said compared to the old format. “We took the white and the accident happened. Nothing different happened if we were in the old situation. I don’t think it will end up making a humongous difference. The likelihood of having a lot of accidents in the first corner are not super high. I don’t think we’ll notice a huge difference.’’