NASCAR has issued clarification on its ruling about driving below the yellow line at restrictor-plate races, following Sunday's controversial finish at Talladega.
Officials have issued a release where they state what competitors were verbally told before the race during the drivers' meeting. There seemed to be differing views ahead of Sunday's event as to when it was allowed to drive below the line while battling for position in the track.
"This is your warning: race above the yellow line," the transcript read. "If, in NASCAR'S judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position, you will be black-flagged. If in NASCAR's judgment you force someone below the yellow line (in an effort to stop him from passing you), you may be black-flagged."
NASCAR's president Mike Helton said Regan Smith was not forced by eventual race-winner Tony Stewart to drive below the yellow line while battling for victory on the last lap. He said also that from now on there will not be any passing below the yellow line at anytime during restrictor-plate races.
"In NASCAR's opinion [Smith] was not forced below the yellow line," Helton said. "NASCAR correctly took immediate action to enforce the policy by penalizing the No. 01 and scoring the No. 20 as the race winner.
"Since the end of the race there has been some confusion as to what is allowable during the last lap at Daytona and Talladega.
"To be clear, as we go forward, there will be no passing under the yellow line at any time during NASCAR races at Daytona or Talladega, period. This includes any passing below the yellow line near the start/finish line on the final lap."
Some drivers including reigning champion Jimmie Johnson admitted after the race that there was some confusion among his colleagues about yellow line crossing, specifically on the last lap of the race.
He had already called for the ruling to be made clear to avoid a serious incident on the last lap of a race.
"I think if there is a yellow rule line, there is a yellow rule line, period," Johnson said. "We can have one hell of a mess and hurt some people with guys trying to get down on the apron and thankfully Regan did a good job of hanging onto it, but you could see the car was not comfortable coming through there.
"And if you had somebody bump-drafting him, it would have made it worse. But I learned before the race started that there was this deal where if you could see the flagman, it was a free-for-all. And I hope they consider changing that and just making the yellow rule."