NASCAR Overtime and Other 2016 Rule Changes Announced

Say goodbye to green-white-checkered finishes, NASCAR fans. The sanctioning body announced a number of changes today in conjunction with the start of the 2016 season, including the creation of overtime rules that could allow for unlimited attempts at restarting a race.

The biggest of the changes, NASCAR overtime as it’s being called, creates a “overtime line” at each track. Should a race go under caution and go over the allotted distance, at least one attempt to restart the race will be made. If the leader passes the “overtime line” without incident, then the next flag ends the race. If there is an incident, however, before the “overtime line” is reached, then another restart will be attempted. It will be instituted in all three national series.

Among the other changes includes changes to the qualifying procedures for the Daytona 500 and other Sprint Cup races due to the new charter system. The changes are small, with the four positions for non-charter teams at each race being decided by speed at all races except the Daytona 500, where two are decided by speed and two by the results in the Can-Am Duels. Also, if qualifying were to be rained out, the field would be set based on practice speeds. If practice is rained out, then it will be set by owners points.

Finally, adjustments have been made in all three national series to the points structure to fit the smaller fields, with only 40 cars in Cup and Xfinity fields and 32 in Truck races.

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Main Photo: DOVER, DE – MAY 31: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 ditech Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, race three-wide on a late restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)