This weekend, at Phoenix Raceway, marks the ninth playoff race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. That means we will soon know which four drivers will be competing in the “championship four,” at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
We all know the highest race finisher wins the title, but a new rule implemented this year called the “repair clock,” could change everything. Jalopnik recently spoke with a NASCAR spokesperson and they laid out what a “doomsday” scenario would look like.
The repair clock effects the time a team has to repair a car. The new rule mandates that all repairs should take less than five minutes or the car cannot return to the race. There are also limitations on what kind of repairs can be made. In short, if it’s a major wreck where body panels need to be replaced, the car cannot return to the race.
This new rule makes it very complicated to determine the championship winner if there is a big pileup involving all four cars. “It’s not that farfetched,” said the NASCAR spokesperson according to Jalopnik. They added:
“I doubt it would happen early, but if you look at the last few years, the championship four have been pretty much stacked together at the end there.”
“We’d go to the previous [completed lap], and if it’s the white flag, we’d use all available resources [to determine the title leader at the time of caution].”
If all four cars were not allowed to return to the race, then the winner would not be the leader at the time of the crash, but rather at the time of the last completed lap.
There is a lot more to a possible “Doomsday,” scenario and if you’d like to dive even deeper, feel free to check out the article by Jalopnik.