Despite having to issue multiple black flags at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s Scott Miller said there will probably be no consideration to eliminating the yellow line rule.
Joey Logano was penalized twice Sunday afternoon for forcing drivers below the yellow line. On the final lap, NASCAR penalized Matt DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher for the same infraction, which cost both top-five finishes.
“I think you heard Erik [Jones] say… there would probably be even more wrecks,” said Miller, NASCAR vice president of competition. “We certainly don’t need more wrecks than what we say today.”
The YellaWood 500 took three overtime attempts to reach its conclusion. There were 13 caution flags.
“I think you’d probably see more wrecks without it, guys just being able to dive down there and trying to make big moves. You’d probably see more accidents,” said Jones of not having a rule. “I don’t know – I don’t honestly know what to do to make it better. It’s unfortunate when it comes down to the end of the race, and it becomes a judgment call.”
DiBenedetto crossed the finish line second but was moved to 21st in the finishing order for his block of William Byron. The move forced Byron below the yellow line. It also resulted in Hamlin doing the same in reaction to what was happening in front of him.
It is within NASCAR’s discretion to penalize a driver for either forcing another driver below the yellow line or for willingly going below the yellow to advance his position.
“It was pretty clear cut the 21 (DiBenedetto) hung a left and drove those guys down below the line, so we had called that twice on the 22 car (Joey Logano) during the race, so nothing different there,” said Miller. “On the 24 and the 11 being down there, in our judgment, they were down there to avoid a wreck.”
.@joeylogano has been penalized for forcing the No. 9 car below the yellow line. He will be sent to the tail of the field.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 4, 2020
Buescher was penalized for forcing Elliott below the yellow line through the tri-oval on the final lap. Buescher was moved to 22nd in the finishing order, and Elliott finished fifth. Initially, NASCAR ruled Elliott had driven down there on his own to advance his position and had to rescind the penalty after a formal protest filed by Elliott’s team.
“Outside of putting a wall there, I don’t really know what more we can do,” said Miller of the rule. “I do sincerely believe we need the rule. You all see the real estate that’s around here. If we started having cars running 12-wide down the backstretch, imagine what would happen when you get to Turn 3.
“I think it’s important that we continue to have a rule. You get out there in the heat of battle, things happen. It’s hard when there’s all that real estate down there, but you just can’t do it. I don’t think that we can eliminate it. I think it would be a mess. We kind of are where we are.”
Ty Dillon, who finished third, agreed that the rule didn’t need to be changed. Dillon said the action is a product of the aero package.
“These cars are a bit easier to drive, stuck to the ground harder,” he said. “The runs are happening twice as fast as they ever have. Guys going below the yellow line, you got guys going for a win, guys not trying to wreck.
“Guys have a lot of things going on in their mind. Sometimes when you go below the yellow line, it’s not totally your fault, but it is the rules. It comes down to a mental decision, am I going to lift or go below the yellow line. We know the rules before we get here. I think if you were to open it up and take the yellow line away, you’re going to have guys blocking all the way down to the grass, have twice as big of wrecks.
“I don’t think we want to open up that can the worms. We have plenty of racetrack we can go four‑ or five‑wide on. It’s a product of what we do. I don’t see anybody at any fault for any reason. I don’t think anybody tried to bend the rules to get an advantage. I think it’s just a product of what happens here.”