NASCAR Throwing Stage Cautions, Moving Restart Zone for October Events at Charlotte Roval
NASCAR has made procedural changes for October races at the Roval, including the return of stage cautions and the relocation of the restart zone to the frontstretch chicane.
Ahead of the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series events at Charlotte's ROVAL, NASCAR has decided to make a pair of procedural changes, that will have a significant impact on the ebb and flow of the October events.
NASCAR will revert back to throwing full-course cautions at the end of the race's opening two stages, reversing a rule that was announced prior to the start of the season, which stated road course events would have no stage cautions.
Per Elton Sawyer, NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition, the reasoning behind the move was two-fold, first to keep officiating consistent across all NASCAR Playoff races, and second to improve the overall quality of racing.
"We want to make sure that throughout the playoffs, in the 10-race Cup Series Playoffs, we wanted to make sure that we were officiating across the board the same way. Now we will be. All of our races will have caution stage breaks, including the ROVAL here in a few weeks."
The change comes after a pair of road course events at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen that featured a combined two full-course cautions, just one of which was displayed as a result of an on-track incident.
"If you look back at our five previous road course races, although they were competitive, there were some that felt like there were things we could do differently, obviously going back to the caution stage breaks, that would potentially make our races better," added Sawyer.
"So, we had the option to pull that lever, working closely with our broadcast partners, Speedway Motorsports (SMI) in Charlotte, and our industry stakeholders, and felt like the timing was right to do that as we head into the Playoffs."
Another change for the upcoming events at Charlotte's ROVAL is the restart zone, which instead of its traditional position in the first half of the dog-leg on the frontstretch, will now be located at the exit of the frontstretch chicane.
"One thing we looked at, as far as the road courses - we had a situation at Indy a couple of years ago, where late-race restarts really put our guys in a bad spot there, with five or six-wide, which is great racing, but it also becomes a bad spot for them and can tear up a lot of vehicles and end up with multiple overtime restarts."
Upon further explanation, Sawyer says that after discussions with competitors, changes were made to the restart zone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Road Course, which garnered positive results and feedback.
"We changed that at Indy this year, the competitors really like that, felt like it gave us some great racing, as well as Chicago, and as you look at the ROVAL, we'll do the same thing. The restart zone relocation will be as you exit the frontstretch chicane, so it will give us some separation in the first two or three rows as they head off into turn one."
Changes to the restart zone - similar to the ones made at both Indianapolis and Charlotte's ROVAL - were implemented for the Chicago Street Course, as well, and prevented the field from being packed together heading into the heavy-braking first corner.
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