Caution Clock - First Impressions

Discussion in 'Camping World Truck Series' started by DownForce, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. DownForce

    DownForce Administrator

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    Well, just had the first caution clock and it's as bad, prolly worse than I expected. A bunch of drivers wanted to pit before clock struck zero so that they could leap frog the guys who were gonna pit under the upcoming caution. All these guys in a big rush sure enough wrecked each other and tore up a bunch of trucks because some guys didn't know guys in front of them were pitting. This gimmick is even worse than when they instituted the weird "no changing tires and adding fuel on the same pit stop" rule.
     
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  2. what

    what Super Moderator

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    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' new caution clock rule came into play for the first time in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

    Sort of.

    The NASCAR rule -- new this season for the truck tour -- mandates that the yellow flag fly if a caution period hasn't slowed the event after 20 minutes of green-flag racing. During Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250, it meant teams were watching not only the lap counter but also the new caution clock.

    After the timer's debut, teams may also be watching for possible rules tweaks.

    With less than 20 seconds remaining before the clock was set to expire, a handful of teams scrambled to dive to pit road on Lap 42. The strategy would have given the early birds track position over the drivers who stopped during the impending caution.

    But several trucks made contact trying to slow for the pit entrance, sending Cody Coughlin and Spencer Gallagher spinning. Coughlin smacked the inside retaining wall. Gallagher looped his truck and collided with the pitting truck of Christopher Bell, before nosing into the infield grass. As a result, the 100-lap race's third yellow flag -- with 11 seconds remaining on the caution clock timer -- went into the race's statistics as a naturally occurring caution period.

    Gallagher, who wound up 21st in the 32-truck field, suggested that competition officials close pit road at a certain point before the clock is set to expire to prevent a recurrence. NASCAR race procedure is to close pit road shortly before a competition caution period begins.

    "I'm going to be real forthright about it," Gallagher told NASCAR.com. "NASCAR needs to add some kind of shutdown to pit road. I'd say probably even around five minutes before the caution clock is due to hit, just because of that exact reason it happened. It just invites too much gamesmanship with making a green-flag stop and trying to outsmart everyone else. That's what happens. Things get way too crazy."

    One driver who just missed the carnage was race winner Johnny Sauter, Gallagher's teammate at GMS Racing. Sauter was making his entry to pit road as the bedlam erupted behind him; his No. 21 truck just missed being part of the stack-up.

    "I knew it was going to be chaos, and I really thought about making the call of pitting the lap before that so we wouldn't be in all that," Sauter said after securing the 11th victory of his truck series career. "I really think it's going to -- I wish they could close pit road a couple, three minutes before the caution clock comes out so we don't have this problem every week at these other racetracks, Texas, Michigan. It'll make it so much nicer.

    "I know we want to make it interesting for the fans, but we don't want to have tore‑up race trucks like we did tonight on a pit stop."

    Third-place finisher Parker Kligerman, making his first truck start since 2014, attributed part of the frenzy to the lack of hand signaling from high amount of rookie drivers making their first superspeedway appearances. Protocol at restrictor-plate tracks calls for drivers to indicate on the backstretch that they intend to pit.

    Runner-up Ryan Truex seconded Kligerman's thoughts, saying that he had little indication that so many trucks would be pitting. But he also said he welcomed the provision in the rules change that turns the caution clock off for the final 20 laps.
    "I think it's different. It spices it up a little bit," Truex said after his career-best truck result. "I'm glad that we got rid of it at the end there and got to run 15 laps straight or whatever it was, 10 laps straight."

    No other green-flag run in the 100-lap race came close to the caution clock's 20-minute limit.
     
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