LONG POND, Pa. - With NASCAR introducing double-file restarts for Sprint Cup races yesterday at Pocono Raceway, there were so many what-if questions from drivers during the lengthy pre-race meeting that it was
time (mine eyes glaze over).
No one knew how the double-file plan, with the fastest cars up front, would work. NASCAR was so concerned about the plan that it presented a color slide presentation twice during the drivers meeting.
The good news for NASCAR, the drivers and the fans is that there weren't any problems.
"It was the perfect place to try it," race winner Tony Stewart said. "I think it's something the fans are going to enjoy. It was nice not having to race lapped cars on the restarts."
Runner-up Carl Edwards suggested having the race leader restart with a racing rival next to him. Yesterday, the second-place car restarted next to the leader.
Last year, Carl Edwards won the most Cup races (nine) and finished second in the Chase for the Championship. This year he is Chase-bound again, standing sixth in points, but he is winless in 14 races.
"I'll probably be happy later but right now, to be that close to victory and not win, that is frustrating," he said. "The cool part is we felt like we were in the form that we were in at the end of last season."
Edwards led 103 of the 200 laps yesterday.
Race attendance was estimated at 90,000, about 10,000 below Pocono's usual crowds for Sprint Cup races. The infield was not as heavily populated as usual.