NASCAR announced a number of changes for the 2016 season at the media tour back in January. The most interesting change came for the Camping World Truck series. That being the addition of a caution clock.
Now what that means is after the drop of the green flag, a 20-mintue clock begins to count down. Basically, saying there will be no more than 20 minutes of green flag action at a time. If an actual caution comes out first, the clock will reset back to 20 minutes. The clock will turn off all together with 20 laps to go. There’s two exceptions to that rule Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway due to their size the clock will shut off at 10 to go. Also Eldora will not run the clock at all due to that race being run in segments.
The idea of the caution clock came from the idea of competition cautions that they use, normally when either a practice or qualifying or both is rained out. NASCAR felt since the trucks is comprised of mostly younger drivers and younger teams, the opportunity to be able to come in and adjust the trucks would greatly befit them.
We did not get to see the caution clock in action at Daytona because of to many on track incidents, but at Atlanta it came into play twice. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the caution clock I was quick to judge it. I felt like it would lower the level of racing. While I’m still not sure how I feel about it, I do have to say I was wrong about it lowering the level of racing that remained the same. It does add a whole new degree of strategy.
With the caution clock, drivers no longer want to make green flag stops. I mean, why would you when you’re guaranteed a caution at most every 20 minutes. One thing we saw this past weekend was tires not lasting the 20 minutes. Other questions that arise are will your gas window fit into that time frame? If you do have to make a green flag stop, it makes it easier to get a lap back. Christopher Bell is a good example of this, he had a tire go down, made a green flag stop and went a lap down. Then a few minutes later, when the caution clock expired, he was able to get the wave around and get back on the lead lap.
I urge people to still give this some more time before we judge to harshly. One race is not enough to judge how this is really going to work. I’m still on the fence myself, but after seeing it play out a little, I feel a lot better about it. What do you think? Is it a good idea, would you like to see the other series adopt it?