Restart Line Or Restart Zone?
So before anyone blasts me with hate comments, or people calling me Pulliam haters, or anything else like that. I want to offer my opinion that has been formed off of the facts of what I saw and talking to different people and getting their response. Either way this piece goes, there is nothing that will change. Pulliam is still your winner and the prestigious clock went home with him and his team. The issue that I am having with all this is not that MAYBE Pulliam jumped the start, it’s the lack of continuity with the rules. Over the weekend I spent my time working with the Race22 gang who had a team member in the drivers meeting Sunday morning where they posted the flagman will start the race to begin with, there was a restart zone, and the second place car could not beat the leader back to the line.
I have asked a few other drivers I know personally if Carroll told them it was a Restart Zone – meaning there is a box so to speak on the track and the leader has the choice on where inside that box to gas it up and go. If the pack gets to the second line and the leader has not gone then the flagman will start the race. What got me was the fact that Pulliam and a few other drivers said the rule was “Go at the double line – On the outside wall there were two red lines taped, this rule would mean once you got to those lines, run like hell.
Now the picture you see in this story is a screen capture of a buddy of mine who was taping the restart. If you want, you can follow this link which you can watch and make up your on mind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OvfEMt_if8). Of course social media went crazy about this. Pulliam fans proclaiming Sellers never went, he was playing is typical games. Pulliam haters saying he is an ass and jumped the start. You also had folks saying how at the track it looked like Pulliam jumped the start but when looking at the replays from different angles a few days later, it looked like Sellers never went.
Am I the only one that thinks the opposite?
Sitting in the booth and watching the final restart in person it looked like Sellers tried to get going and just stalled all forward progress and Pulliam, being the wheelman he is, took advantage of Sellers mistake. But when I go back and look at the replay, over and over again, and factor in the rules that were “posted” – Restart Zone, second place cannot be first place back to the line – how can you not say Pulliam jumped?
Now that it is Wednesday and the race is over and we have all had a chance to say our two cents, here are the two real issue that we need to focus on in this situation;
1) There is no doubt there was confusion on the rule, and you cannot argue that point. When two drivers say the rule was go at the line, then another driver and the media are saying/reporting the rule was a restart zone. 2) If you go back and look at the video in the link above as the cars hit that first line (where the concrete meets the asphalt and the double red line on the wall) the flag man throws the green. How can you say Pulliam was wrong going when the green flag was thrown?
For me, the issue does not lie with Sellers so called “playing games” as Pulliam stated in the post race conference. Strategy is part of racing, trying to out play the guy lining up next to you. If Sellers was under the impression it was a restart zone how do we know he was not waiting for the flagman to get things going to try and confuse Pulliam. I cannot discredit those who try everything in there power to win a race, and honestly that is was Pulliam did. He used his interpretation of the rules to his advantage. My thing is this racing should not be like baseball where it is up to the umpire and their interpretation of the rule. They should be very clearly outline in the drivers meeting and enforced as so.
Last years race winner was determined by something very similar to this years. If that is not enough for NASCAR officials to really look into this situation and come up with a way to rectify something like this, I can guarantee you will have a lot of pissed of drivers, crew, owners, and even fans.