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NASCAR's John Darby says double-file restarts could be coming, and drivers like that

NASCAR's John Darby (R), the Sprint Cup series director, gets car owner Jack Roush's temperature on things (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Double-file restarts, NASCAR's John Darby says, may well be an idea whose time has come.
   But probably for the 2010 stock car racing season, rather than 2009.
   Because Darby says he and his men want to spend some time pondering all the 'what-ifs.'
   With NASCAR's 'Lucky Dog' rule (in effect since 2003) eliminating racing back to the yellow, and giving the first driver a lap down that lap back at the caution, NASCAR could easily eliminate the single-file restart rule. After all, that's the way each race starts anyway.
   And each spring, during NASCAR's All-star weekend, the double-file restart idea bubbles up again, because it does make for more dramatic racing.
   "In today's world, it has become hugely popular with our fans…and part of our responsibilities are to our fans, so there has been a lot of discussion," Darby said.
   "As the series director, I would be reluctant to try to implement a change like that mid-year. But if we could sit down the rest of this year and run it through every single scenario, and be comfortable with it going forward, then it would become part of the sport."
   However, the decision might well be made above Darby's head – if NASCAR president Mike Helton or CEO Brian France says 'Do it.'
   "What do you do when the caution comes out during the middle of a round of green flag stops?" Darby asks. "If you have six cars still on the lead lap but at the tail end of the lead lap; do you run them back around and give them all that track position, or do you put them back a lap down?
   "There are all those little things to figure out."
   However Darby throws cold water on any ideas of keeping pit road 'open' the entire race, rather than 'closing' it at the yellow, as under current rules.
   "If you kept pit road open like that, you'd run the risk of advantaging half the field over the other half," Darby points out.
   Yes, not closing pit road might jumble up the field every now and then, which wouldn't necessarily be bad for the show, by shuffling the leaders, but Darby says green flag stops currently throw that in the mix.
   "There are a good number of cautions during each race…and I don't think we should open up that big a portion of the race to 'who can out-guess who," Darby says.


NASCAR's John Darby (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



Darby continues to prove he's

Darby continues to prove he's still not ready for prime time. He's right about two-abreast restarts and disingenuous about a yellow coming during green flag stops - if that theoretical six cars is still on the lead lap, you run them around to the back of the field.

And his argument against closing pit road is pathetic. "You'd run the risk of advantaging half the field over the other half." How? Does he even remember when NASCAR didn't close pit road? I do - there was never any "advantaging" angle to it beyond drivers who foolishly pitted way too early; a situation like that is their fault, not the rules' fault.

There is no case against keeping pit road open when the yellow comes out - if Darby would learn some history maybe even he would figure this out.

I see Darby has a cig in that

I see Darby has a cig in that picture. Never trust a smoker.

Something to look forward to

Something to look forward to in 2010, perhaps? I like the double-file restarts. They already exist when the lapped cars show up on the inside, so it's not like the drivers would be seeing something totally new. With double-file restarts, you can put all of the lead-lap cars up front, then the lapped cars. The lapped cars would have their own race-within-a-race to get the lucky dog pass. It would make for some exciting racing. Each caution at Bristol would make for some interesting restarts. Will NASCAR dictate that the even-numbered positions HAVE to start on the outside, or will drivers have the option of remaining on the inside even if it means giving up a better position on the track so they don't have to start on the outside?

that's kind of a stupid way

that's kind of a stupid way of looking at people, never trust a smoker geez. I don't like the way they smell but not to trust them is absurb.

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