NASCAR changes rules hours before qualifying races

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Just days before the most important race of the year, NASCAR is changing the rules.

NASCAR officials announced that they will redefine the green-white-checker rules starting at Thursday's Gatorade Duel races. The possibility of a rule change was first reported by Wednesday afternoon after officials met with members from all three national series'.

In the past, when a caution occurred in the closing laps of a race, the field made one attempt at a green-white-checker flag finish. Under the new rule, NASCAR will make sure the track is clean, run multiple green laps before waving the white and finally the checkered flag. NASCAR will make three attempts at a green-white-checker finish.

However, once the leader takes the white flag, there will be no more attempts for a green flag finsih just like under the current rules.

The change will take effect for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.

Robin Pemberton, Vice President of Competition for NASCAR, used the analogy of Saturday night's multi-car wreck in Turn 3 where the leaders came around to the white flag and Kevin Harvick led the field around to the track for the final lap. Pemberton said, "At least with the new rule they're going to race (one full lap of green) and then go on the white."