NASCAR modifies restart rules

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR will implement single-file restarts over the final 20 laps instead of the final 10 in all three series during the 2009 season, officials said on Thursday.

The rule was changed to give lead-lap drivers a better chance to go for the victory instead of having to battle lapped traffic on the inside as they do on double-file restarts.

NASCAR also is evaluating the 50-foot distance announced at the Budweiser Shootout as the new standard for the leader to restart an event. It could decrease from track to track based on driver input, officials said.

Under the new rule, the leader has between the double-red line 50 feet from the start-finish line and single-red line at the start-finish line to start the race. Otherwise, the starter on the flag stand will start the field.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.