Last weekend, NASCAR penalized Chase Elliott and A.J. Allmendinger for laying back on restarts. It is a controversy that seems to be brought up every so often, but NASCAR truly started enforcing the rule last weekend. Some drivers spoke out about NASCAR enforcing laying back on restarts, so, let’s take a look at what they had to say.
What is Laying Back on a Restart?
In order to understand what these drivers are talking about, we need to understand what laying back on a restart is. What it is is when a driver intentionally drops back off of the back bumper of the car in front of them before a restart. As a result, the driver can go as soon as the restart happens, and they have more track in front of them to take advantage of the forward momentum
When there is a car directly in front of another, the car behind will have trouble getting a run because they need to slow down for the car in front of them before they can pass at the start/finish line. While it is technically illegal including NASCAR publicly addressing it during the summer, drivers tend to get away with it, until Sunday when NASCAR started penalizing drivers.
What the Drivers had to say
Two drivers in particular came forward to talk about how NASCAR enforced the rule in Las Vegas. Denny Hamlin talked on his podcast “Actions Detrimental” and Tyler Reddick talked about it in his media availability.
They’re putting a line in the sand that they’re not going to put up with it, and certainly this is what we asked for, and I applaud them for doing this, because it had gotten out of hand. We saw how awful that restart was at Kansas at the end with guys laying back.Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin seems to be applauding NASCAR for this, and he even mentioned that this is what the drivers asked for. It’s understandable because if there is a rule or an emphasis given by NASCAR, then why does NASCAR not enforce it?
NASCAR has a responsibility to protect the drivers from themselves. Laying back on restarts creates a mess because it puts drivers towards the front at a disadvantage. If drivers at the front lay back, those in the back end up running into each other which can cause a massive accident. Hamlin also specifically mentioned the Kansas restart, which will be analyzed in a bit.
At [Las Vegas] a year ago, I was livid about how much people were able to lay back and [NASCAR officials] weren’t calling it…They’ve done a better job of seeing people try to take advantage of certain situations. It’s just kind of forced everybody to I guess play a little more straight up.Tyler Reddick
Tyler Reddick has had a personal experience of being on the wrong side of laying back on restarts. Again, it seems he echoes the sentiment of Denny Hamlin. Reddick also mentioned how this could end up making for a real change in how drivers approach restarts now that NASCAR is penalizing drivers.
A Look at the Kansas Restart
In order to see what type of an impact that laying back can have. Denny Hamlin specifically mentioned the Kansas restart, so, here it is.
It is obvious on this restart that everyone beyond the first two rows is laying back. This just looks very disorganized, and it also hurts the cars in front of them. Obviously, on this restart, no wrecks or terrible disasters happened.
However, it is easy to see why it would be unfair for the drivers near the front. No matter how fast they go, the drivers behind them are either going to be able to go slower. The bottom line is that NASCAR placed an emphasis on this, and they are starting to enforce it.
The drivers seem to be okay with NASCAR enforcing this rule. It seems it will continue to be as time goes on.