NASCAR: The charm and simplicity of the green and white checker

Everything could have been avoided if Formula 1 had used NASCAR’s green and white checker flag rule.

The 2021 Formula 1 World Championship went from fight to farce, as it decided not to finish the race and decide the championship title behind the safety car, the race director made it controversial – and later declared illegal albeit not in many words – he called to allow only some cars to unwind themselves in order to Restart the race.

Lewis Hamilton lost his record-breaking eighth world title, while Max Verstappen’s first title will always carry whispers that he is gifted to him.

Planet Sport explains how a little extra time in NASCAR’s two-lap means every race ends in a real race.

green and white date checker

NASCAR, however you feel about the Friction Racing series, will never have such a dilemma because they have the overtime rule, checker green and white.

Although NASCAR’s races throughout most of its history have only gone the advertised distance, in 2004 the sport decided to implement the overtime rule in all three of its divisions.

They did so in part after fans revolted in the 2002 Pepsi 400, tossing beer bottles, seat cushions, and whatever they could get when the race ended under yellow.

With four laps left, the race was his ninth caution of the day when Ryan Newman, Jeff Green and Dave Blaney crashed onto his back straight.

NASCAR chose to finish the race on guard with Michael Waltrip winning ahead of Rusty Wallace, and fans expressed their anger – and it wasn’t a result that was rigged like the F1 race in Abu Dhabi 2021.

Then NASCAR experimented with the red flag rule where the last red couldn’t be less than five laps from the finish, anything after that was a warning and the field was frozen.

But the fans showed their frustration again, this time at the Aaron 499 in Talladega where Jeff Gordon beat Dale Earnhardt Jr because of that caution. Once again, bottles, chairs and trash were thrown onto the track.

This prompted a rethink and the green and white checker was implemented in mid-2004 across all NASCAR series.

How does the green-white checker work?

Simply put, the green-white checker is about the flags in the race. Green means go, white means last lap and checker means end.

If there is a warning near the end of the race, or even a red one, the race will always have two rounds to finish – even if it means exceeding the specified distance.

Drivers will be shown green for the penultimate lap and white for the last lap with the checked flag that finishes the race.

However, in the event of a green flag lap failure before the race leader reaches the overtime line, they will reboot for another restart of the green and white checker.

If the crash occurs on the white lap, the race leaders – unless they are the ones to crash – are already well ahead of that.

This means that no race ends under any warning, or under Formula 1’s terms under the Safety Car. There are no parade ends, the winner is the first driver to take the square flag in race conditions.

What’s more, in this lesson on Formula 1, there is no room for a single man to wrongly decide on a world title.

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