The NASCAR Truck Series ran its championship race on Friday with the markings that determine where a leader can start accelerating after a caution painted in the wrong place, making drivers accelerate much later on restarts. The mistake was announced late on Friday night and fixed before Saturday's Xfinity Series championship race.
Eagle-eyed Twitter users like Road & Track contributor Bozi Tatarevic first noticed the mistake during Friday's on-track running. Two races, the truck Series race and the ARCA West Series finale, were run before the problem was resolved and the marked stretch of the wall--officially known as a restart zone--was moved back to its intended location.
NASCAR has fixed restart zone to move it where it is supposed to be, same area as 2022. In the spring, they used a bigger zone for first handful of races and then initially inadvertently painted it closer to start-finish (can see black lines on track where it was yesterday). pic.twitter.com/lijVTDjP5z
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) November 4, 2023
Photos of the repainted zone show that the original placement for the weekend was much closer to the start/finish line, giving drivers less time to accelerate and maneuver before getting to a point where they could move out of line at the start/finish line. At Phoenix, a track with a paved "dogleg" where drivers can fan out into a seemingly endless number of lanes before they have to find a racing line into turn 1, that extra space helps create a little bit of extra separation before drivers have the chance to make those maneuvers.
NASCAR says that Truck Series teams were informed of the mistake before the race and chose to run the event anyway. While restarts were chaotic throughout the race, that event's many crashes had more to do with an impatient and desperate group of Truck Series teams and drivers than it did with the location of a restart zone. The fix should only have a minor impact on Sunday's marquee Cup Series Championship Four race, but a return to the restart zone placement that drivers expected will be welcome for teams that put a major emphasis on preparation for this race.
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