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Auto racing

NASCAR restarts go double-file

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In a midseason attempt to add some excitement to Cup racing, NASCAR has moved to double-file restarts beginning with this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway.

"We’ve heard the fans loud and clear," NASCAR chairman Brian France said Thursday. "Double-file restarts, shootout-style are coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This addition to the race format is good for competition and good for the fans."

The first- and second-place drivers will line up side-by-side as the green flag drops for each restart. The former restart procedure had lap-down cars on the inside, and the lead-lap cars on the outside for the restarts.

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NASCAR recently used the double-file format for its non-points All-Star Race. The format will be adapted for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the future.

The race leader will have the option to restart on the inside or outside lane. The second-place driver would then restart next to the leader.

Drivers in odd number positions will restart on the inside lane, while drivers in even number spots restart on the outside. They’ll get their first shot at trying out the new rule Sunday at the 500-mile race at Pocono.

All restarts will use the same format regardless of the number of laps remaining.

One of the ideas behind the move was to eliminate lapped cars getting in the way of the leaders on a restart.

"I’m excited about it," Cup points leader Tony Stewart said. "The good thing is that when they drop the green, you’re going to be racing with the guys you’re racing for position instead of trying to clear lapped cars."

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