© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Recent experimental work has revealed that notched tensile specimens, subjected to dynamic loading, may fail by growing a neck outside of the notched region. This apparent lack of sensitivity to a classical stress concentration case was reported but not explained or modeled. The present paper combines experimental and numerical work to address this issue. Specifically, it is shown that the dynamic tensile failure locus is dictated by both the applied velocity boundary condition and the material mechanical properties, specifically strain-rate sensitivity and strain-rate hardening. It is shown that at sufficiently high impact velocities, the flows stress in the notch vicinity becomes quite higher than in the rest of the specimen, so that while the former resists deformation, it transfers the load to the latter. The result will be the formation of a local neck and failure away from the notch. This effect is shown to be active when the material properties are perturbed only at the local level, as in the case of machining of the notch, which in itself may again be sufficient to stabilize the structure under local failure until a neck forms elsewhere. While the physical observations are quite counterintuitive with respect to the engineering views of stress concentrator’s effect, the present work rationalizes those observations and also provides information for the designers of dynamically tensioned structures that may contain notches or similar flaws.