Kevin Harvick, whose incident at Talladega in 2015 preceded NASCAR adopting the overtime line, says the sanctioning body should keep the overtime line as it is the rest of the year.
“It’s been a constant evolution of processes throughout the years, whether this is a moment that changes it, I’m not a fan of changing things in the middle of the year,’’ Harvick said. “I think everything is open for discussion. I think this rule was created with the superspeedway races and the wrecks and everything that was happening there.’’
The rule has gained attention since last weekend’s race at Dover finished under caution. Jimmie Johnson won because he crossed the overtime line before the final caution came out.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Periscope that NASCAR should change the overtime rule.
“I kind of helped come up with that idea, so this is going to be kind of strange, but I think they should get rid of the overtime line at all the racetracks except for Daytona and Talladega,” Earnhardt said.
“I think we should race it out everywhere. And no overtime line, just keep on doing green-white-checkereds until you get it right everywhere. And then at Daytona and Talladega, you probably can do something different.”
Earnhardt’s flip is a lesson for the sport, Harvick suggested.
“I think that really speaks volumes about just as competitors where everybody sits as far as one time you want this and one time you want that,’’ Harvick said. “I think that’s a good reason to keep the competitors out of making rules and things like that.
“It’s hard to be wishy-washy and create something that is consistently good. It definitely shows you how circumstances can change the opinions of really all of us.’’
The issue of trying to finish races under green has been prevalent in the sport for about 20 years.
NASCAR instituted a green-white-checkered rule a few months after fans tossed beer cans at Jeff Gordon when NASCAR ruled he was leading — instead of Earnhardt — when the final caution came out at Talladega in April 2004.
NASCAR increased it to three green-white-checkered attempts before the 2010 Daytona 500.
In October 2015 at Talladega, Johnson spun as the field headed for its lone attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR ruled that because the field had not taken the green and passed the start/finish line, it did not count as the one attempt.
When the green came out, Harvick, who had an ailing car, and Trevor Bayne made contact that triggered an 11-car crash and the race ended under caution. Harvick managed to make it around and advanced to the third round.
NASCAR followed that by creating the overtime line in 2016. The rule states that if the leader crosses the line before the caution comes out after the final restart, the race will end under caution. If the caution waves before the leader crosses the line, another attempt will be made.
“We make changes because we’re told it’s what the fans want for all the way we can monitor those things,’’ Johnson said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “You sit around and all of a sudden everybody starts questioning that again.
“The overtime line was designed to help create a safe environment and give us a point to race to. The way it’s all written and designed, the fans got the best opportunity, I think, that could have come.’’