NASCAR is taking steps toward abolishing its controversial overtime line effective immediately.
The decision was announced Wednesday afternoon, making the start-finish line the new location that signifies an official attempt. At tracks for the remainder of 2017, the start-finish line will serve as the overtime line.
NASCAR overtime procedures remain in place so if a leader passes the start-finish line, the next flag will end the race.
“NASCAR has been looking at the overtime procedure for quite some time,” Chief Racing Development Officer and executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said in a statement. “After many discussions with key figures throughout the industry, we recognize that having the start-finish line serve as the standard overtime line position will benefit the race – and, most importantly, our fans. We are implementing this immediately, starting with this weekend’s races at Watkins Glen International.”
The overtime line, which typically is located just past the halfway point of the backstretch, caused a stir in Cup Series finishes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway and the Xfinty race at Daytona Speedway International Speedway. In each instance, the yellow flag flew shortly after the leader crossed the line making the attempt at a race official.
In using the overtime line as the designator for officially ending a race, NASCAR essentially is reverting to its green-white-checkered policy prior from 2010-15. Instead of three attempts at making at least one lap under green, there now will be unlimited attempts at reaching the start-finish line on the first lap to make an overtime official.
NASCAR chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said on the NASCAR on NBC podcast last month that the overtime line likely would revert to the start-finish line by next season.