A few years back NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said the fans wanted “double-file restarts -- shootout style.” If it is good for NASCAR is it good for the series that is already studded with action and excitement, the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour? Maybe, maybe not. The Official RacingWest had the opportunity to poll a few of the SRL drivers to see what they think. And now on to their comments!
"Fans want double-file restarts -- shootout style."— Brian France, NASCAR Chariman and CEO
Scott Sanchez: I would like the SRL to do double-files. When you have a great car and you are upfront you probably don’t like the restarts because you could lose position, but if you don’t have a great car you could pick up spots, especially if you are stuck on the outside, on the other hand you will get torn up cars and some drivers won’t like it--but for me personally, it would be to my advantage.
Carlos Vieira: As a driver I would love the double file restarts--all the time. As a car owner I am concerned for the increased potential of wrecks the double-files might produce resulting in some teams suffering hardships, making it hard for them to come out to the next race. Still, if I had to pick one or the other I would choose the double-file.
Greg Potts: I personally prefer double-file restarts as it gives me my best opportunity. Plus, double-file restarts are better for the fans. But I do think we would tear up some cars. We have a late model we race at Stockton 99 Speedway, Roseville (All American Speedway) and Madera Speedway where we are used to doing double-files. I like them because as a driver it gives me a chance to get up to the side of them.
Jared Vorse: We started the double file in Washington, we got used to it. But, we recognized that it took people half a season before they started using their heads with the double file. First half of the year cars were wrecked, but as time went on people that didn’t have a top-ten car quit trying to go up to be a top-five. For the fans is it a lot more fun. I have no problems with it, we are used to it.
Greg Voigt: The SRL has the best late model racers on the West Coast, but I also think as we get rookies in the series it may not be the best thing for them. Not that they are not capable, it just takes time. I have mixed feelings, I don’t mind the double-file starts myself, but I don’t think it would be good for the series. If we were at Irwindale it would be different, but some of the places we go having double file restarts is really tough, it just increases the chances of tearing up cars in a bad economy.
Ken Benhamou: I don't like them. The double-files were put into NASCAR Cup because their program sucked. They needed more excitement for the fans. It is an illusion. You must drive differently, you may not be able to accelerate as much, you can’t cut down. Double-files creates a hesitancy on the drivers' part as they can’t run flat out, right now when the green flies we are driving as fast as we can. I do think you are going to have some fans thinking it is harder racing in the double-file and all….but my opinion is the drivers may not try as hard as they currently are.
Derek Thorn (Points Leader): I think as a driver I prefer single file restarts. I used to race Street Stocks with full field inverts and the slower cars up front; if I went to the back, a single-file restart suited it better, there were less incidents. I think single-file is better for the driver, but I can understand wanting to gain fans with double-file pizzazz.
Dave Byrd (2007 Champion): There is plenty of drama and wrecks with the double-file. I know at certain instances it might be good…but attitude changes with the last 20 laps; could see a huge problem going on at the end.
M K Kanke (2009 Champion): Couple things that happen in this double file restart thing, we have done it at Madera and basically it destroyed the field. So my aspect is why spend all your time and effort to get up front and because you are 3rd, 5th, 7th you get a bad position. Is that fair for the guy who has worked his way up for 125 laps? The reason why it is more of an issue with the SRL Tour than others, you have grip with the tires and you can put your nose in places where it shouldn’t be…and when you do that it causes a wreck and basically you go to the back... when you line them 2 by 2 and they think they are heroes because they are closer. It is not going to work.
Jonathon Gomez (2010 SRL Champion): I don’t like double file restarts because of the possible damage at a track like Stockton or Madera. But on a track like Irwindale, which is big and wide it wouldn’t bother me one bit because you have room to move.
Jim Pettit II (SRL Champion 2011/2008): Right now the problem with double file depends where you are at, it can be a benefit at some places, other places where you are on a one groove track you can get hung out and that defeats the purpose. It is not really fair if you have worked on something for 4 or 5 laps and you lose it on the restart. You could go two-wide on the restart at a track like Irwindale Speedway, but at a one groove track like Stockton 99 Speedway we would be having problems. I ran double file all my life. I am okay with whatever we do, but it’s tough to try to sell a product, and our product might not be that good if we tear cars up at the restart. It might be good for the fans, but the wrecked cars might not be good for the series.
And how does the SRL feel about the double-file restarts?
Larry Collins, Managing Director SRL: I am not against them, but the SRL is bringing to the tracks as many or more cars than most other series in this area and one reason for that is because we are cost conscience to the race teams. Double file restarts maybe won’t cause more wrecks, we have great drivers, but I think we put on good enough races without double file restarts, but...I will never say never.
So there ya have it. What do you think? Yes, No or Maybe to the Double-File restarts?