In recent times, NASCAR fans have witnessed many races that ended in overtime. Whether it’s Zane Smith’s win at Truck Series opener or Sunday’s Daytona 500 where Austin Cindric registered a historic win at Daytona International Speedway, these races have one thing in common: overtime. So what exactly is overtime?
In NASCAR races, overtime is a period when a race goes past its scheduled length. This is due to caution coming out in the closing laps requiring an overtime finish. According to the association's official website, a caution could mean a multiple car wreck happened or another driver ran out of fuel on the final lap.
The overtime finish consists of two laps. When cars take the white flag, there will be no more overtime attempts made. This used to be referred to as a green-white-checkered finish.
If a caution comes out before the white flag is off for the first time in the race to show the final lap, it will then add laps to the race distance to clean up the caution and finish it under the green flag. This is where overtime begins.
In 2017, NASCAR changed overtime for the better, moving the overtime line from the backstretch to the start-finish line.
Last two NASCAR races ended in overtime
NASCAR's last two races have seen them go into overtime. Most recently, it was the Daytona 500, and prior to that, it was the Camping Series opener.
Austin Cindric, who drives #2 Ford Mustang for Team Penske, held off Bubba Wallace Jr. in overtime to win the 64th Daytona 500 on February 20. After achieving this feat, he also became the second-youngest driver. The win was a nice birthday present for team owner Roger Penske’s 85th birthday.
Expressing his joy and thanking his team for their efforts, Cindric said:
“Oh, my God. I’ve got so many people to thank. First and foremost Roger Penske, happy birthday. Oh, my gosh. Appreciate Ryan being a great teammate. Obviously, he wants to win this one, but I’m so pumped for Discount Tire, Menards, Ford. Everybody works so hard with this Next Gen car, through this whole process, and damn, I am so excited.”
Previously, Zane Smith, driving for Front Row Motorsports in his first season, won the 23rd annual NextEra Energy 250 in overtime. Smith held on in a two-lap sprint to win at Daytona International Speedway on February 18.