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That yellow line rule, about 'out-of-bounds' -- Mark Martin has a good suggestion for NASCAR to consider

   NASCAR is considering new rules for Talladega...maybe drivers should just accept responsibility for their actions. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   NASCAR officials are still offering no word on reports that Sprint Cup director John Darby, in that job since 2002, and doing pretty darned well there, may be promoted to a new spot and that a new Cup director will be hired.
   So speculation is rampant about what might be going on behind the scenes at NASCAR headquarters.
   Thursday, when the annual NASCAR preseason Media Tour hits NASCAR's research and development shop just down the road from Charlotte Motor Speedway, there may be some answers.
   But then again, maybe not.
   One rumor, which car owner Rick Hendrick and driver Jeff Gordon derided, with laughter, is that NASCAR might want to hire Ray Evernham to run the Cup garage. "I don't think NASCAR can afford Ray," Hendrick said with a grin.
   That's one of the big stories this week. Another hot story is NASCAR's sudden push toward change, change and more change. It's looking like 2010 may be a very edgy season for the stock car guys, with NASCAR 'letting them play.' NASCAR is talking about letting drivers police themselves – maybe out in the infield after a run-in or two.
    Jimmie Johnson says he predicts some very aggressive driving this season.
    Old school NASCAR? That's how the new season is shaping up.
    One contentious issue the past year or so has been the yellow out-of-bounds line at Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR is talking about eliminating that yellow line rule (which was created in response to a daring pass by Jeff Gordon the last lap of the 1997 Daytona 500, when he swerved under Ricky Rudd's lapped car and passed into the first turn during a three-man fight for the win in the season-opener.
   Drivers are saying they want NASCAR to keep the yellow line. "If we didn't have that rule," Dale Earnhardt Jr. says, "I think we'd be quickly reminded why we have that rule in the first place."
   But Jimmie Johnson says he likes a suggestion by teammate Mark Martin: that NASCAR use the yellow line rule throughout the Daytona and Talladega races until the last lap, and then the yellow line rule will be waived.
    That would have okayed Regan Smith's pass of Tony Stewart at Talladega in the fall of 2008 – a pass that Smith insisted was forced on him by Stewart blocking, so Smith went low to avoid a big crash.
   Following that controversial incident, in the spring Talladega 500 Brad Keselowki, trying to pass leader Carl Edwards for the win on the last lap, found himself in the same situation as Smith when Edwards pulled low to block. Keselowski, unlike Smith, didn't go low, and he said that was precisely because of NASCAR's earlier call – and there was a huge crash, in which Edwards' car nearly went into the grandstands.
   "We don't need to be racing below the yellow line," Johnson says. "At Talladega you could actually probably race on the apron through the corners (without the yellow line).  But now you'd probably have 40 cars all in one big wad.
   "So I think Mark's option: when you come off turn four the last lap, anything goes. We're willing to crash at that point.
   "Otherwise there are just too many safety concerns throughout the race.
   "That yellow line rule was put into place when Jeff had to go low, under a car (Rudd's) that had just come off pit road and was slow to speed."
   "If we're really trying to treat the race fans to a show, then I'm willing to wreck anywhere from the fourth turn to the finish line on the last lap…for the show.
   "I just don't want to be wrecking in the first 10 laps.
   "I want to at least get close to the finish line before all hell breaks loose."
    Earnhardt says that's fine with him: "Mark is right about giving the fans a show…and giving us an opportunity to win the race on the last lap.
    "I just hate to see races finish like when Regan Smith was denied that win."


Yes I hope John Darby well,


I hope John Darby well, but in this sport with all the money involved in it, Nascar needs a complete make over in the inspections department!

When hiring a new inspector, Nascar needs a policy when hiring a director in a position like this, 'that has no conflict of interest" in with at team or driver!

Example = they dont need a director that has bought a car from a Hendrick Dealership,Roush, or Mark Martin, Earnhart Dealership! Or ever worked for any of these current teams for the last 3 years etc!

When Rick Hendrick made the statement that 'Nascar could not afford Ray Everham! But Hendrick could probably afford him! That is what I am worried about!

The cheating with all the money in this sport could be 'White Collar" type now!I am not saying it ever happened but I have seen questionable things that would suggest favorable treatment!

I think Nascar should look at doing the right thing a they should hire someone outside and besure they have a strict 'conflicts of interest" policy because this is a key position that could be a target to get favorable treatment from team owners!!!!!

I always go back to the Carl Long versus what some of the others millionaire team owners get a way with!!!!!

I still believe that if Tony

I still believe that if Tony Stewart had been the one going below the yellow line and passing Regan Smith for the win, Tony would have been given the victory! (Tony sells multiple times more tickets, die-casts, hats, shirts and jackets for ISC, M.A., and NASCAR in 1 day, than Regan Smith has in his entire career!) Fairplay doesn't even enter into the race-results equation. GREED IS THE NASCAR CREED! ! !

Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson,

Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Junior are a reminder of why sanctioning bodies should not put great stock into the rules opinions of participants. They should keep the yellow line until the last lap? If it's paved, it's fair game. Junior and Johnson (intended pun) need to better remember the days before the rule came into place - passing below the yellow line was safe; the Ricky Rudd situation was not about the yellow line, it was about the stupidity of Jeff Gordon trying to race into the back of another car trying to get up to speed.

The yellow line rule has no justification and needs to go. Period.

okay, i will agree. Jeff

okay, i will agree. Jeff should have been penalized at daytona that day for dangerous driving.

I'd be in favor of keeping

I'd be in favor of keeping the yellow line rule, if NASCAR would give a penalty to anyone who blocks another car under the line. They have made it clear that if you go below the line, you will lose the race. If you hold your ground and wreck the guy blocking you, you may win. What would you do?

the only problem with the

the only problem with the yellow line rule is that so far nascar has only penalized those drivers who have gone below the line -- not a guy who forced him down there (replay Tony Stewart-Regan Smith at Talladega). If NASCAR would penalize drivers for pushing a guy low, then I've got no problem with out-of-bounds.

I believe that, eventually,

I believe that, eventually, drivers will learn not to block...Leave that yellow line there! The racing surface is where the racing should be and blocking should be rewarded with a bumper. The track should be made so that any part that isn't track shouldn't be drivable. Put rumble strips on the apron, paint the apron to make it slick, plant grass. These all work. The drivers have plenty of room to race. If they can't pass on the track, they shouldn't pass at all.

well, i think carl edwards

well, i think carl edwards and tony stewart understand the deal now.....but i have mixed feelings about out-of-bounds lines -- if it weren't for safety, we don't need them. but sometimes these guys get a little crazy, and at least the yellow line - at talladega at least -- is a constant reminder that there are dangers involved.
rumble strips, grass...the reason tracks want asphalt in those areas is so drivers, when they lose control, can scrub off speed without the car digging in and flipping (see Elliott Sadler at Talladega for further details).

Has anyone posed this

Has anyone posed this question to NASCAR?...Why is racing below the yellow line or on the apron okay everywhere except Daytona and Talladega?

If safety is the answer then why are there higher speeds allowed at smaller tracks 1.5 miles or longer? Drivers routinely race below yellow line/apron at Las Vegas, Michigan, Fontana and just basically ride the apron in the turn 4 at Phoenix and Loudon where accidents have happened due to driver's error of racing vs entering into the pits.

I guess we ought to ask Jeff

I guess we ought to ask Jeff Gordon, since he's the reason we have the yellow line rule.....and, uh, you might have to be the one to ask tony stewart -- he took offense when i asked him about it at daytona once....that out-of-bounds penalty that cost him a $1 million bonus, i think...and me a $60 tape recorder.....LOL

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