On the cusp of the new season, NASCAR has announced some rule tweaks, and there are two, in particular, that I really like.

The first is the elimination of stage breaks at road courses.  It’s been an interesting couple of decades for road courses in the NASCAR universe.  Despised by many around the dawn of the new century, the double-file restart gave them a real boost in the popularity department.  So much so, that we’ve gone from two on the schedule in the Cup Series, seemingly forever, to a half-dozen.  Then came stages, and while they’ve been a boost to so many other tracks, they’ve ruined the pit strategy that has been so much a part of the road courses.

Now, the stage breaks are gone, and hopefully some of the excitement returns.

I also like the tweak to the lost tire penalty.  I think NASCAR got everyone’s attention last year.  Yet, a four-race suspension for the crew chief was always pretty harsh.  Now, it sounds like the crew chief is off the target list, as is four races for anyone, and there’s an interesting line being drawn around how far you go before your tire falls off.

So, a couple of tweaks I really like.  Now, we wait for the unintended consequences.