Analysis: Caution Clock
The caution clock was announced at last year’s Media Tour in Charlotte. This news was not truly accepted by NASCAR fans until it was run during the Camping World Truck Series in 2016.
According to Brian France, the move to institute the 20-minute clock was to “add strategy to the race”. This clock was also used to help Truck teams with young drivers be able to adjust on the vehicle under a caution just like a competition caution in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. When asked if this would be a beta test for the other series, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said “it fits perfectly” with the Truck series and will be looked at for the other series in the future
The clock was not used in the season opener at Daytona, but teams used the clock as a chance to play strategy by hitting the pit road with less than 60 seconds remaining on the clock. However, that strategy did not play well as teams would wreck trying to enter pit road bringing out the caution.
The expiration of the clock brought the caution out an overall 19 times over the course of the season. The clock expired twice at Atlanta, Kansas, Gateway, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, and Las Vegas. The clock only expired once at Charlotte, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Chicago, and New Hampshire.
However, the inevitable happened at Texas Motor Speedway in the Striping Technology 350. The caution clock expired three times, the highest of any race in 2016. While the clock flew three times, it was the cause of all three cautions during the race.
When the clock expired in each of the events, it took roughly three to six laps for the field to return back under the green flag.
As the season progressed, fans began to like the idea of the caution clock. However, many fans agreed that the idea of the caution clock could use some work. The clock did help entice strategy into the races in 2016.
I am 19 years old from Atlanta, GA. I have been following motorsports since I was born. Motorsports has been "passed down" in my family. I am named after NASCAR Hall of Famer, William Caleb Yarborough, also known as Cale. Growing up in the southeast, racing was something that was a Sunday tradition after church. What an honor it is to share that passion with others.