NASCAR will look at issue of drivers slowing near pit exit to get preferred restart lane
Saying that it is “not something that we want because we don’t need accidents at the end of pit road with people checking up,’' NASCAR’s Scott Miller noted Monday that the sanctioning body will look into the issue of drivers slowing or stopping near pit exit to try to get the preferred lane on restarts.
It’s a common tactic at some tracks, including Martinsville Speedway, which hosts a playoff race. Denny Hamlin was the most obvious driver to do it in Saturday night’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin was set to exit pit road third (and start on the inside lane) one time when he slowed to try to be fourth and get the preferred outside lane to restart. Instead, two cars passed him, he exited fifth and restarted on the inside line.
Another time, Hamlin slowed at the end of pit road causing a few cars behind to run into the back of each other. All were able to continue.
“We’re certainly going to look at it,’’ said Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about the pit road ploy. “What we saw go on that everybody is talking about was pretty obvious. Ironically, it didn’t quite work out. Sometimes those things don’t.
“No, that’s not something that we want because we don’t need accidents at the end of pit road with people checking up. We’ll figure out how we’ll address that one and try to move on. Really only kind of comes into play at a few places. We know when it’s possibly going to happen, so we’ll try to address that.’’
Asked on “The Morning Drive” if NASCAR might do something that is done a short tracks where drivers pick what lane they want in order they’re running on the track, Miller said:
“As we do here at NASCAR, we’re constantly looking at ways to make the races and the action for the fans more interesting,’’ Miller said. “That is a topic we have discussed a little bit. I personally am really not super familiar with that and how it works but some of the others are and it’s something that we’ve talked about, but we talk about a lot of things. When the final decision comes, I’m not sure what that will be but certainly that has been a topic of discussion.’’
Miller also said that NASCAR planned to have the PJ1 traction compound again added to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the playoffs. Both tracks had it applied earlier this season.
“We’re looking at it at some other places, too, not fully decided yet,’’ Miller said. “We’re learning about it and learning about its uses and its positives. We haven’t really found any negatives. As with anything it’s a challenge to get right because it’s the first time we’ve dabbled in this. We have experience at those tracks but anyplace new that we go is still just a project that we’re working on.’’