Also known as ‘overtime’ this is the method NASCAR uses to attempt to finish a race under green flag conditions. If there is an accident or a caution flag late in a race, NASCAR will make one attempt to finish the race even if it goes beyond the scheduled distance; in affect adding two laps. Once the caution is clear, the green flag will be waved, on the next lap the white flag for the last lap will be thrown followed by the checkered flag. If an accident or caution happens during the green white checkered flag period, all bets are off, the field is frozen and will finish under caution.
The green white checkered flag finish allows fans to see a race end under race conditions. It’s a big let down for fans to sit through a 500 mile race only to have it end under caution with the field frozen.
The risks for drivers and teams are great. If a driver has built up a sizable lead and there’s a green white checkered, then the field will be bunched up again for the restart and the drivers behind him now have a chance to win, and if crew chiefs don’t estimate their fuel mileage correctly and take into account the possibility of extra laps they could leave their driver high and dry.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|