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NASCAR lengthening restart zones at Dover

Brad Keselowski, left,  speaks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. last week. Keselowski was penalized during last week’s race at New Hampshire for jumping the restart.
Brad Keselowski, left, speaks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. last week. Keselowski was penalized during last week’s race at New Hampshire for jumping the restart. Getty Images

NASCAR announced Thursday that the restart zone for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway will be doubled in length from 70 to 140 feet.

Restart zones at tracks for the season’s seven remaining Cup races after Dover also will be lengthened on a track-by-track basis for all three national series. The length of the restart zone has been measured at each track as twice the pit-road speed.

Restarts have become an issue during recent races, with drivers asking NASCAR to police the rules more stringently. With the zone length changes, the restart rules aren’t changing: the first-place car being the “control car,” with the second-place car not being allowed to pass the leader while in the restart zone.

NASCAR has placed dedicated cameras and race officials at the zone to monitor restarts.

Brad Keselowski was penalized during last weekend’s race at New Hampshire for jumping the restart.

“Great change by @nascar to double the restart zone,” driver Denny Hamlin said on Twitter. “Gives leader more of a opportunity to decide when to start the race. Can assure you this decision is one that the DRIVERS helped influence. We live it each week and this is a step in the right direction.”

MWR appealed denied

NASCAR’s penalty against Michael Waltrip Racing and driver Clint Bowyer was upheld by the National Motorsports Appeal Panel. MWR had appealed the penalty for improperly installed parts during inspection for the Sept. 20 race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Bowyer was docked 25 points for the infraction and crew chief Billy Scott was suspended three races, fined $75,000 and put on probation for six months for the infraction.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of (the) ruling and still feel our interpretation is within the guidelines,” MWR said in a statement. “Rather than continue the appeals process, MWR is ready to focus 100 percent of our company’s resources on winning at Dover and trying to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

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