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Those Yellow-Flag Blues Finishing Under Caution

June 28, 2004
June 28, 2004

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June 28, 2004

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Those Yellow-Flag Blues Finishing Under Caution

On June 13, Jeff Gordon blistered NASCAR for letting the Pocono
500 end under caution. On Sunday it was rookie Kasey Kahne who
was wishing NASCAR wouldn't allow races to end under the yellow
flag. "I don't know if I could have caught Ryan," said Kahne, who
was second in the DHL 400 to Ryan Newman (Kahne's fourth
runner-up finish this year). "But it would have been a great
finish."

This is an article from the June 28, 2004 issue Original Layout

On the last lap Kahne was closing fast on Newman as the two
roared into Turn 3. But at that instant, back in Turn 2, driver
P.J. Jones crashed. Though Newman and Kahne were well ahead of
Jones and would not pass through Turn 2 again, NASCAR waved the
caution flag--forcing Newman and Kahne to ease off the gas and
sealing Newman's first victory of 2004.

After the race NASCAR officials said they made the split-second
decision to slow the field because there were several cars behind
Jones and they didn't want to delay the safety crew from reaching
him. (Jones wasn't hurt in the crash.) But as a result of
NASCAR's recent case of yellow fever--the DHL 400 was the third
straight race to end under caution--there's a growing chorus of
drivers, owners and fans crying out for NASCAR to remedy a
problem that drains the excitement out of the finishes.

Here are two suggestions: Once the white flag comes out to signal
the last lap, all cars should be allowed to race to the checkered
flag--even if there is a caution situation. And if the yellow
flag waves with fewer than five laps to go, NASCAR should stop
the race until it's safe to juice the gas again--just as it does
in its truck series. This would guarantee what everyone wants: a
race to the finish line.