In The Tracks...
                   
     
 
Time to Wave Bye Bye to the Wave Around Rule
November 2, 2016

The wave around rule must go. It was a result of the don't race back to the caution rule, but it is unfair and at Martinsville it proved to be too much to handle. Had I not been sitting in turn 4 at the track and instead on my sofa at home, I would have turned over to the NFL games or left and did something else. I would not have stuck around and waited for a 29 lap caution to allow them enough time to sort things out.

So, who does not agree with me there? If it is you, keep reading the new way to handle things deserves to be heard. Those of you who do agree, I suspect you are curious too!

Still, no racing back to the caution, that proved to be dangerous due to the fact that at the time the field was being shown caution lights and flags. The key is to not get lapped by the leader. However, if you do and the caution comes out and the leader pits, putting you on the tail end of the lead lap, why should you get to race around to the back of the pack and gain all that track distance?

You definitely haven't earned it. Actually, you are gambling that there will be another caution, because you can't pit if you take the "wave around." This means you have older tires and less fuel and will be one of the first to get lapped again or one of the first to hit pit road for tires and fuel, provided you do not hit the wall first.

The former way of handling the situation is that the tail end of the lead lap cars restarted on the outside lane ahead of the leader of the race. This is frowned upon as it puts the leader in the middle of the pack, when the leader has earned the right to restart up front.

Another problem with that is that back in the day the lapped cars would restart on the inside row and so the first few lapped cars would restart ahead of the leader and the tail end of the lead lap cars as shown in Diagram 1.

This was not right either as the cars would restart out of order as well. As shown, the second car (4) on the tail end of the lead lap is behind the first car one lap down at the front of the inside line, who would be in 5th place.

What to do to fix the situation?

Here is the plan, refer to Diagrams 1 & 2 to follow along. Currently, the leaders restart in 2 by 2 formation ahead of the lapped cars. This will continue unless there are tail end of the lead lap cars. Then the lead lap cars restart on the outside lane (Diagram 2: Green cars) and the tail end of the lead lap cars (Diagram 2: Blue cars) restart on the inside lane. Behind the lead lap cars and the tail end cars, would be the lapped cars in 2 by 2 formation (Diagram 2: Yellow cars).

This way nobody gets a free lap and will have to earn their way back to the lead lap under green flag conditions rather than racing back to the caution flag.

The tail end cars could be cars that are 2 or more laps down as well. If they can earn one of their laps back to the leader then they deserve the chance to try for it.

 
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