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SONOMA, CA - JUNE 24: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Rheem Chevrolet, races Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on June 24, 2012 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR tweaked its restart rules Sunday and will now allow the second-place driver to beat the leader to the start-finish line after confusion has reigned all season.
The change was announced in the pre-race driver meeting at Chicagoland Speedway, where NASCAR has been dealing with the fallout from a manipulated race at Richmond last week. Overshadowed in the scandal was yet another restart in which many fans felt NASCAR missed a call when it failed to penalize Carl Edwards for jumping the final restart.
Edwards clearly beat leader Paul Menard to the line, wasn't penalized and won the race. NASCAR said Menard spun his tires.
Going forward, the leader controls the start in the restart zone. But once the green flag waves, the second-place car can beat the leader to the line, allowing NASCAR to take race control out of the equation.
"It will take out one area of subjectivity on our part," said vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. "It's too competitive out there right now, and to be honest, it needs to be in the hands of the drivers on who decides these races. Not the (NASCAR scoring) tower when it comes down to one of those calls.
"Things are getting too close, and this year we've seen more wheelspin than ever, probably because of some chassis adjustments. It's just got to the point that it was too much (that) we had to make a call and evaluate the restarts too much from the tower. It needs to be back in the hands of the competitor for the most part."