Call it a rule. Call it a procedure. Call It Good. Call it bad. NASCAR calls it Green-Yellow. I call it useless.
If you watched Saturday night’s race at Richmond, you noticed that the race “started” under caution. The actual race itself did not start until lap 4. This was because NASCAR started the race using a procedure called “Green-Yellow”. When NASCAR starts a race under Green-Yellow conditions, they basically continue doing pace laps, only the laps count as part of the actual race.
NASCAR usually does this after it has been raining, and the track isn’t dried off when the race is supposed to start. Instead of keeping the cars parked on pit road until the track is dried, NASCAR ushers the cars onto a wet track, forcing them to burn precious(and I dare say expensive) fuel, until they run so many pace laps that NASCAR just starts counting the laps toward the race’s total.
Here’s what I don’t like about the rule. First, the alternatives are so simple. Why not just keep the cars parked on pit road? I understand that the pits have to be dried also, so why not dry them, and then park the cars back on pit road when it’s dry? Or, why not park the cars on the apron of the track? That part doesn’t have to be dry, because the cars aren’t supposed to run down there anyway? Or, why not just run a few more pace laps? On Saturday night, the cars only ran the first 4 laps under caution. At a .75 mile track, how much extra fuel does that really burn, anyway?
Second, the green-yellow procedure basically hands 5 bonus points to the pole-sitter. I have never liked anything being handed to anybody, which is an obvious reason as to why I am so much against the green-yellow procedure. It was especially annoying a few years ago, when every other qualifying session was being rained out, and either Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson would be on pole, only to be handed 5 bonus points because every other race was started under green-yellow conditions. It didn’t help either that the two were winning nearly every race, and quite frankly, I was getting sick of both of them.
Third, all the green-yellow procedure does is burn off precious laps. If the cars are going to be on the track long enough to burn a good amount of fuel(say, 10 laps worth), then they shouldn’t be out there at all. And if they’re only going to be under green-yellow conditions for about 4 laps, then why not just use those as pace laps and wave the green flag when it’s supposed to be waved; lap 1.
The green-yellow procedure serves about as much purpose to the sport as Fox’s animated gopher and his “racing buddies”. There are so many alternatives that don’t include running laps off the board or handing people bonus points. Is the green-yellow procedure really the best they can come up with?
Personally, I think the green-yellow procedure should be abolished. What do you think?