Race Weekend Central

Friday Faceoff: What Throwback Rules Would You Like to See in NASCAR?

Last weekend, the NASCAR XFINITY Series raced at Road America and the Camping World Truck Series raced at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule gets revamped in 2021, should either of these tracks be added to the schedule?

Zach Gillispie: Canadian Tire should be at the top of the list. In the six times the Truck Series has visited the track, we have seen some amazing races and unbelievable finishes. The fans have been very vocal about adding road courses, and this one would be a perfect fit for Cup. Road America, Laguna Seca and Circuit of the Americas would also be great Cup venues.

Clayton Caldwell: How exciting a racetrack doesn’t play any role into whether or not it’s on the Cup schedule. The business behind the racetracks, like who owns them, etc., is the biggest player. CTMP has a better chance at getting on the Cup schedule because it’s in Canada and NASCAR may want to go international, but I don’t see either one happening. The schedule for 2021 will look similar to what we have today.

Mike Neff: If they’re going to add a road course or three, Road America absolutely should be on the list. Road Atlanta and COTA would be two other great choices.

Amy Henderson: Absolutely, and either one would be good for the sport.  I’d like to see four road courses on the schedule, as there’s a lot of preparation that goes into road-course racing, and if teams had more opportunities to use what they build and learn, the racing would only get better — and it’s already great, so that’d be a win-win for all involved.

Noah Gragson’s move on teammate Todd Gilliland in the Truck Series race’s final lap has been talked about since Sunday. Are finishes like this good for NASCAR?

Caldwell: Anything that draws attention to the sport is good. We always talk about the lack of rivalries in NASCAR and scratch our heads as to why. I’m not saying fans have to like Noah Gragson or Todd Gilliland. They can dislike the moves they made, but that still makes it good. We need villains. We need drama. It was awesome.

Henderson: There is a big difference between what happened in the truck race and intentionally dumping another driver for the win. Gilliland opened the door a crack and Gragson stuck his foot in.  Then when Gilliland tried to shut the door, Gragson was having none of it. Maybe someone should have backed out, but it’s not as though Gragson drove up looking to dump Gilliland.  The former is good, hard racing, and that’s always good for the sport.  What’s not good for anyone is blatant wrecking.  Bump-and-run is fine if done right, because the bumper doesn’t wreck if it’s done right.  Sometimes mistakes happen, as they did Sunday, the intent wasn’t to wreck Gilliland.  Intentional wrecking is never cool, but hard racing always is.

Gillispie: What we saw at the finish is what NASCAR needs. The premise of racing is to win. Some of the most famous finishes in NASCAR racing have involved a wrecking-to-win scenario. Just look the 1976 Daytona 500 or the 1999 Bristol Motor Speedway night race or even the 2009 Talladega Superspeedway spring race. I’m sorry to all the team owners, but if expensive equipment is tore up, so be it. The fans want to see drivers put all their effort into winning.

Neff: The mentality of driving through people for wins is promoted through the inexpensive bumpers of the US Legends cars that are run at the SMI tracks across the country. Easily replaced body parts encourage people to wreck others to advance their position. The proliferation of drivers who don’t work on their own equipment also leads to this mentality. It is a terrible practice that needs to stop. Rubbing is racing, wrecking is weak.

With Darlington Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway being the two final races in the Cup regular season, it’s getting to crunch time for the drivers on the outside looking in of the playoff field right now. Will we see any movement, or are the 16 in now the 16 that’ll be in come Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

Henderson: The 16 currently in are pretty safe, but Indy is the bigger wild card here in that there are four drivers currently outside the playoff picture with wins there (Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne), so whoever is 15th in points going in (currently Alex Bowman) shouldn’t relax until the checkers fly over the yard of bricks. The final playoff spot is probably going to be the only thing that makes the racing at Indy somewhat interesting, so let’s hope someone at least makes a run at it.

Gillispie: The field is set. It does not look like Ricky Stenhouse Jr or Newman or anyone else outside the playoffs has the speed to win at Darlington or Indy. There may be a miracle at Indy for one driver, like Kahne last year, but I highly doubt that will happen.

Neff: The possibility of a surprise winner over the next two races is slim, but it is there. That said, the overwhelming odds are that Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will win the next two races. The final 16 is set.

Caldwell: The 16 that are in now are the 16 that will run for the playoffs. Part of the problem is that 16 is too high a number to have any drama as far as people making it into the playoffs. I know the rules package at Indianapolis adds a little drama to it, but no one is going to cause any. For example, the first four drivers in points outside the 16 current playoff drivers have a combined eight top-five finishes. It’s just not going to happen.

In honor of Darlington throwback weekend, what’s one old NASCAR rule that you’d like to see brought back for one weekend?

Caldwell: Racing back to the stripe. A lot of exciting finishes when I was a child would be affected if we froze the field immediately. I know we have the technology to do it now, but the drama of running to the stripe is something that is missing from our sport. Think what would have happened if in the 1998 Daytona 500, we froze the field as soon as Robert Pressley went spinning on the backstretch. The call, the drama coming to the line and the excitement wouldn’t be built up; it would have just happened. How about when Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed in 1979? The field would have froze and Richard Petty would have crawled to the finish line. Or in 1976 when Petty and David Pearson wrecked coming to the stripe. Would the field have been frozen? Would there have been a restart? Just think of how those races would have been ruined because of freezing the field. It would be a lot more exciting, that’s for sure.

GillispieThe obvious answer would be to bring back the points system before the playoffs era, but aside from that, I would love to see a modern race at Talladega or Daytona International Speedway without the yellow line rule. While the potential for danger exists, that race would be amazing.

Henderson: Anything that could only be brought for one weekend would be so insignificant that there’s no real reason to bother. I’d be for losing the stages at road courses, which would be at least three weekends, but really, the only rule that needs to go is the playoff system and its one-race championship that has cheapened the title to a shell of what it used to mean.  I will forever feel for Jimmie Johnson, because he did everything right to win seven titles, but they just don’t seem the same as the seven full-season titles from Petty and Dale Earnhardt.  I suppose it could become a one-weekend change if that one weekend was Homestead.

Neff: The season-long points system would be ideal, but since that is probably long gone, the point for leading a lap and bonus points for leading the most laps should return. I would like to see the person who leads the most laps receive a playoff point like the drivers who win a stage.

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Tom Nasella

Throwback rules? Very easy…..get rid of the lucky dog and wave around. Those are the two most bogus rules in racing. Having an issue, breakage, accident, penalty or whatever is part of racing and if your car isn’t good enough after that to get back into contention then so be it. Giving laps back is totally fake racing.


Why not take away one of the cookie-cutter mile and a half tracks at the beginning of the season and give a second race to Darlington? Maybe call it the Rebel 400?


No more “Lucky Dog” for the first car a lap down to get back onto the lead lap… If you want to race on the lead lap build a faster car.

Let the teams use they’re own pit guns and use three of them like the Flyin Aces of RCR did in the 1980’s.

No pit road speed limit!

No more stage/heat racing, if the race is 500 laps, then they run 500 laps. cautions count and none of this green,white,checker BS.

Pontiac Trans-Am pace cars like when Bill France Jr ran the sport. The TA traveled with the circuit because NASCAR wanted it too.

Single car qualifying with second round held on Saturday morning, the fastest 42 cars start the race.. No Champions provisional and no top 35 rule.


For a long time I’ve been thinking about no pit road speed limit during green flag stops.

Another Viewpoint

I wouldn’t mess with the points system a bit. NASCAR has that part right finally. No silly bonus for leading a single lap replaced by a bonus for WINNING the race was the best thing NASCAR has done in the 3 decades I have followed racing. I whined about the Stage racing concept, but I have come to accept it. However, we don’t need a 10-minute caution period after the stage ends. Just a quickie caution with time for pit stops and resetting the field in no more than 4 laps total. The road courses should not have a caution at the stage end at all.

And get rid of the post-race penalties. It seems since the BZF debacle NASCAR has limited itself to minor lugnut penalties. That is all that should ever occur days after the checkered flag.

The wave-around and free pass are there for safety reasons, so, like it or not, they stay. One change I would like to see is that when the leader picks a lane for a restart, all the odd-numbered positions get the same lane. This would eliminate the absurdity of drivers stopping on pit road to lose a position in order to gain the preferred lane.

The Playoffs are here to stay. I would throw Dega out of the Playoffs, but otherwise it is a good formula to keep things interesting in an over-long season. And the 4 champions we have had under the current system were far more deserving than some of the points champions of the past with their “stroking for dollars” mentality.

As for Gragson v. Gilliland, it is nice that Amy can read driver’s minds to know intention, but it’s the action that should matter. Gragson dumped Gilliland and the only good thing about that was that he took himself out of the win as well.

Bill B

No more wave around entitlements except for when the caution flag flies after green flag pits stops have started and there really are cars at the tail end of the lead lap. You shouldn’t be able to wipe away being a lap down (and sucking) by staying out when the leaders pit.
Of course I’d like to see the playoff system retired and a season long points format used but that isn’t going to happen until they have no choice (i.e., losing the lucrative television contract because no one is watching) and being forced to try something radical.

Another Viewpoint

The biggest advantage of the wave around is that it lessens the risk of pitting ahead of the leader. Too many times in the past, cars were put a lap down when some back-marker spun out during a round of green flag tops. This rule lessens the possibility of a good car losing because of somebody else’s mistake and allows for more strategy calls during races. It is a positive improvement all the way around and only chronic whiners object to it.

Another Viewpoint

edit to say “green flag stops.” How about an editing feature, FS? Too cheap to provide current technology? Cut your staff by half. Most of these articles are a waste of time and bandwidth.

Bill B

Well I am talking about when a car is a lap or more down, green flag pit stops haven’t started and the caution flies. Drivers that were a lap down should not have the option of staying out and getting a lap back. Going a lap down should really matter and it shouldn’t be easy to get un-lapped.
Calling anyone that disagrees with that a chronic whiner is a real dick move. Just because someone has a different view that you doesn’t make them a whiner douche bag.

Buckley 33

I’d like to see rear spoiler adjustments allowed during the race again……..remember those?……


Get rid of the high dollar technology such as 7 post shakers, pull down rigs and race simulators. All requiring high dollar engineers. This change would greatly narrow the gap between the haves and have nots. It would reduce the high cost of racing which would open the door for more companies to get involved.

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