NASCAR has standardized the location of the Overtime Line as the start/finish line, a decision that will be implemented immediately ahead of this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Watkins Glen International.
“NASCAR has been looking at the Overtime procedure for quite some time,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer 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.”
Prior to today’s announcement, NASCAR had typically placed the Overtime Line near the entrance of turn 3 on oval tracks. That process is now a consistent location for tracks of all types, with the leader now needing to complete a full lap in NASCAR Overtime before a race can be considered complete.
In an event that goes past the advertised distance, drivers must reach the Overtime Line (now consistently the start/finish line) under green-flag conditions following the restart. If the leader does that, the next flag will end the race. If the leader does not reach the Overtime Line under green, that will force another restart.
“This has been something we’ve discussed for a while now, and it’s a balance to ensure the most fair competition for our drivers and the best race for the fans,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller told NASCAR.com. “… Obviously, it’s been a hot topic of late, and we’re aware of the discussions. We take that very seriously, especially the fan feedback. We’ve shown that we’ll act decisively if we think it’ll result in the best racing for the fans.
“Much like the original placement of the Overtime Line, the industry had a voice in this decision. It was certainly a collaborative effort between NASCAR and the industry. We’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s been the case for awhile now.”
The procedure is similar to the previous green-white-checkered restart rules, but there no longer is a maximum number of attempts at the finish.
NASCAR’s goal for races is to finish under green; depending on weather, visibility and other unforeseen variables, the sanctioning body can end the race under yellow if it deems necessary.