Hendrick wants NASCAR consistency on restarts

Rick Hendrick blames NASCAR’s inconsistent policing of restarts

for Jimmie Johnson’s recent issues.

Johnson has lost two races in the last month in part because of

problems on late restarts. The five-time NASCAR champion was

penalized for jumping the start with Juan Pablo Montoya at Dover

and complained last week that Matt Kenseth was laying back on a

late restart at Kentucky.

”I don’t care how good you are, you can get snookered,”

Hendrick said before Saturday night’s race at Daytona International

Speedway.

”That’s the one part of this thing that NASCAR doesn’t control,

and I don’t think it’s in (Johnson’s) head. I think he’s been

bitten a couple of times, so he’s had to be more conservative

because he can’t count on NASCAR to do it the same way every

time.”

Johnson said at Daytona he needs to loosen up and stop taking

the restart rule so literal.

”I feel like I’m maybe a little focused on the way the rule

reads exactly and paying maybe too close of attention to that,”

Johnson said.

”There are a lot of restarts, especially during the Kentucky

race, that I brought down that I feel like a good citizen, a good

student in doing exactly what I’m supposed to. There are other

times when I don’t feel that exactly happens and that it’s not

called or viewed from the tower as kind of the (way the) rule

reads. At the end of the day, I’m just going to lighten up on how I

think about it and use that zone and that area regardless of the

way the rule reads to get an advantage and worry about

myself.”

But Hendrick said he’s spoken to NASCAR officials about being

more precise in policing restarts – to no avail. Hendrick would

like to see NASCAR rely on technology to monitor the starts because

it’s more reliable than series officials determining what’s legal

or illegal from watching in a suite above the track.

”You’ve got guys who lay back and accordion the field, have

everybody running into each other,” Hendrick said. ”Go back to

Dover and Juan jumps and OK, so now Jimmie is gun shy. Then the

next time, you want to be careful, and they start jerking you

around. Somebody gets you spinning the tires, or someone gets

inside of you.

”To me, they ought to be able, with telemetry, set it like pit

road. You’ve got to maintain your speed, they throw the green,

instead of this (driver) on the gas, off the gas, making guys

behind them slow down and then the (leader) takes off. I think

we’ve been able to control everything else, why can’t we control

this?”

NASCAR can access computer data from the race cars after an

event to see if drivers started and stopped on a restart, or if a

driver slowed prior to the restart.

Hendrick wants to see something in real time – and before the

Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins in September.

”It’s almost like when we used to not have pit road timing

lines and you’d argue this other guy passed me and NASCAR would be

sitting upstairs using a stopwatch to decide who is right,”

Hendrick said. ”This is the same deal. (NASCAR) is sitting at an

angle watching the commitment lines – why can’t we make it more

mechanical? All the cars come around together at the same pace, the

timing lines are there, and if somebody jumps the start, throw the

caution and redo it.

”What are they going to do when they get to a points battle and

somebody gets away with something there? Is that the right way to

end the championship? I don’t think so.”