Dale Earnhardt Jr. thinks NASCAR needs to rethink one of its newest rules — the overtime line.
The popular driver watched his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, win in overtime Sunday at Dover International Speedway. But the way Johnson won — taking the lead on the overtime restart, then winning under caution after a multicar crash erupted behind the leaders — made Earnhardt Jr. think the overtime line rule should be modified. He said as much in a post Sunday evening on Periscope.
“I kind of helped come up with that idea, so this is going to be kind of strange, but I think they should get rid of the overtime line at all the racetracks except for Daytona and Talladega,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I think we should race it out everywhere. And no overtime line, just keep on doing green-white-checkereds until you get it right everywhere. And then at Daytona and Talladega, you probably can do something different.”
Johnson had just passed the overtime line when the multicar wreck occured Sunday. That even led to some confusion in the FS1 broadcast booth, as the announcers had to scramble to see whether Johnson had in fact passed the line, making the race finish official.
NASCAR adopted the overtime line rule before the 2016 season. Under the old rules, Johnson and the rest of the field would have lined up for as many green-white-checkered restarts as needed Sunday until the race finished under the green flag. That might not be a great idea at a restrictor-plate race, where every late-race restart is a recipe for disaster, but Earnhardt Jr. thinks it would work at Dover and other tracks.
“Oh well. It’s a damn shame," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It’s the way they did it for 50 years, so I think that people would be OK with it. It’s just green-white-checkered at those places (Daytona and Talladega) are kind of crazy.”
As far as Daytona and Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. thinks NASCAR could maybe go with single-file restarts in overtime to reduce the risk of mayhem.
Junior's bottom line on the overtime line: "The overtime line was a good idea, but I don’t know about doing it everywhere," he said.