The Yellow Line Rule: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Credit: Courtney Horn for Skirts and Scuffs

The NASCAR Cup Series left Talladega with more controversy amid the conclusion of the YellaWood 500. 

The event went into triple overtime after several multi-car incidents, which ultimately resulted in Denny Hamlin earning his second victory at the 2.66-mile track. 

Hamlin, who won by 0.086 seconds, was evidently forced below the double yellow line by Matt DiBenedetto before reaching the checkered flag at Talladega Super Speedway. As a result, DiBenedetto was penalized. A debate ensued on whether or not the Yellow Line Rule, which is only used at Daytona and Talladega, is an outdated and unnecessary regulation in the modern era of NASCAR. 

So that begs the question: Is the rule really required or can it be abolished or modified to allow the drivers to self-police? 

Rules are created to protect athletes from those that cannot govern themselves in their respective sport. NASCAR has been in this situation before with other rules that were created because drivers couldn’t count on each other to do the right thing. 

The Yellow Line Rule prevents drivers from gaining a deliberate advantage, either by purposely going below the apron or being pushed below it. The Choose Rule -- which is the sport’s new attempt at a set standard because drivers bottled up pit road in an attempt to gain an advantage with the desired lane during restarts -- was created with advantages in mind while also allowing for safety protocols to be properly practiced. 

The potential for drivers to go airborne is already higher at Talladega and Daytona compared to other tracks on the schedule. Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman was sent to the hospital following a last-lap crash in this season’s Daytona 500, after spinning in midair and landing on his roof. 

Yesterday, Kurt Busch became the latest victim of a soaring vehicle after Clint Bowyer’s failed attempt at pushing 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson resulted in a multi-car incident. 

Would we not be adding fuel to the fire by removing the Yellow Line Rule and allowing drivers to go six-wide at the start/finish line? The possibilities of something disastrous happening will always be present as long as races are run, but adding to the chances by removing a rule in the same year a driver has a near-death experience doesn’t seem worth taking the risk. 

We cannot sacrifice the Yellow Line Rule and driver safety without replacing it with a new set of standards if we can't guarantee that drivers can self-govern going forward. 


The Yellow Line Rule: Should It Stay or Should It Go?  The Yellow Line Rule: Should It Stay or Should It Go? Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Wednesday, October 07, 2020 Rating: 5