Martinsville is perhaps the most unfair track in the Sprint Cup Series for double-file restarts.
The preferred groove at the half-mile track is near the curb. So the driver on the otuside line is at a serious disadvantage when the race restarts. It's not uncommon to see a driver on the outside lose more than a position per lap as he struggles to find an opening to get down to the bottom groove.
Simply put, starting on the outside line late in the race on Sunday could be huge when it comes to the finishing order, and as a result, the points standings. Given how close the top of the Chase field has been so far through the first six races of the Chase, having the outside line on a late-race restart could be the difference in making the final four at Homestead and not advancing.
The chances of that happening aren't high, of course. But neither were the chances of the restarts at Talladega going so squirrely late. Sometimes it feels like the least-probable scenarios are the most likely ones in NASCAR.
Carl Edwards was asked Friday about the double-file restarts. Sometimes drivers try to manipulate their pit road speed while on pit road under caution. After all, having an odd-numbered position means you're on the inside line. So drivers and teams will attempt to see what order they're coming off of pit road for a potentially better restart position.
“Everyone tries to do it," Edwards said. "We’ve got it right I think two or three times and I think one or two of those, one of the guys in front of us got a penalty and we ended up in the wrong line anyway. I remember one in particular, [spotter Jason Hedlesky] was screaming at me, ‘Give it to him, give it to him.’ I gave him the spot, I’m doing mental high-fives there and they said somebody was speeding so we hurt ourselves.
"I don’t know. It’s really hard to give up a spot. It’s hard to give up one of those spots that you earn so hard on pit road in the hopes that you counted correctly and number one, no one has a penalty. It’s one of those things, you do it, but I don’t know if it’s really a huge factor. I guess in the long run, yes if you did it all the time and you counted correctly and you were able to do it then it’s good. I remember one time I was with someone and we were battling to be the slowest and somebody else got us and I can’t remember if it worked out for us or the other guy, but you get kind of disgusted after a couple instances like that and you just go for it.”
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