- (Photo: Reuters/Christinne Muschi)
NASCAR rules had to be amended in the wake of a race manipulation scandal that has severely impacted the sports credibility after several drivers were found to have acted in a way to unfairly give their team's other drivers an advantage.
One of the rule changes eliminates the condition that the second-place driver cannot beat the leader to the start-finish line with the new rule being the second-place driver can beat the leader to the line. All the other restart rules remain the same.
"It will take out one area of subjectivity on our part and we know it will move it to some other areas," NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Sunday. "It's too competitive out there right now.
"To be honest with you, it needs to be in the hands of the drivers of who decides these races and not the tower. … Things are getting too close and this year we've seen more wheel-spin than ever."
The rule was prompted by a collection of incidents over the past few years, but last week at Richmond Carl Edwards' restart at the end of that race was clouded with questions after many thought he jumped the restart to win the race.
"To me, when the green flag drops, the race resumes," Ryan Newman said Monday. "The leader has the opportunity to get going, however he needs to get going.
NASCAR officials, led by CEO Brian France and President Mike Helton, ordered the drivers to run all-out at all times in order to avoid the perception of impropriety.
"Run 100% all the time and you don't have to worry about it," driver Michael McDowell told USA TODAY Sports after the driver's meeting. "That was the gist of it. They said, 'There are lots of things that happen during the race where you have to save fuel or save your stuff. We get that. We're not looking to hammer anybody. Just race 100%. Don't mess with the finish.' "