Late in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Collection race on the Charlotte Roval, the rear bumper cowl of Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet dislodged and commenced dangling from behind his automotive.
Elliott had wrecked on Lap 55 of 109 after being hit by Kevin Harvick, which left the No. 9 with extreme rear-end injury.
In nearly each case such conditions have occurred up to now when seen by NASCAR, a race management official asks that the crew be made conscious of the difficulty, and most occasions, if the crew doesn’t carry the automotive to pit street to handle it, NASCAR may have the automotive black-flagged to make sure it does.
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Components
Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
On Sunday, there was by no means a phrase on NASCAR race management radio concerning the No. 9 automotive’s bumper cowl – not even a point out of it, not to mention dialogue of a attainable black-flag.
The shortage of the dialogue, or the show of a black-flag, was famous on social media, not solely by media members protecting the race however quite a few followers following alongside. Drivers on different groups made point out of it over their radios on the time, as nicely.
On Lap 87 – shock – NASCAR was compelled to throw a warning for particles on the observe, because the bumper cowl lastly got here off and landed on the racing floor.
The warning turned out to be an important profit for Elliott. He had remained on the lead lap after his wreck however far again within the subject and greater than 50 seconds behind the chief.
Not solely did the warning enable the sector to shut up for the warning, however it gave Elliott a robust alternative to realize quite a few positions on what had been usually chaotic restarts.
Because it turned out, Elliott rallied to complete twelfth – a exceptional restoration contemplating the injury to his automotive and he superior to the semifinal spherical of the sequence playoffs.
Scott Miller, NASCAR’s government vice chairman of competitors, was requested about NASCAR’s tackle the incident Monday morning throughout an look on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s present, “The Morning Drive.”
His total response – through which he makes clear NASCAR was conscious of the difficulty from the start – is offered under:
“You’ve in all probability seen bumper covers flapping loads at Martinsville and us letting it go, so, once more, these are situational issues. The bumper cowl at excessive pace race tracks is definitely a part of the security of the automotive for when the automotive turns round backwards, having the bumper cowl on there lowers the lift-up pace fairly significantly. That wasn’t a requirement for the Roval, so we let it play out.
“One other factor that factored into it was he wasn’t in a pack of automobiles, the place if it fell off somebody would instantly run over it. Once more, like the whole lot we do within the tower, there’s numerous issues to course of and numerous choices to be made and that was the one we made yesterday due to all these elements.”
The issue with NASCAR’s rationalization is evident – it omits any reference to the sanctioning physique’s repeated said need of race management to not intervene with the pure course of the race.
Whether or not or not the bumper cowl hit one other automotive is irrelevant, as a result of as soon as it got here off on the Roval course, there was a near-One hundred pc likelihood it might nonetheless land on the observe, which might drive NASCAR to throw a warning.
And that’s precisely what occurred.
Throwing a warning for one thing that would have been simply corrected and prevented with out one utterly interferes with the pure course of the race.
Elliott was not going to win the race both approach, however he definitely benefitted from the warning and improved his place within the race – and the playoffs – with the assistance the warning offered. That may be a quintessential instance of affecting the result of the race.
Maybe, although, it mustn’t come as a shock.
Simply three weeks in the past through the playoff race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Harvick appeared on his method to a victory within the last laps when he got here up on Elliott, who was a lapped automotive, whereas making an attempt to fend off a fast-approaching Kyle Larson.
Elliott and Harvick had an incident about 30 laps prior whereas racing for the lead, which left Elliott with a flat tire and compelled him to pit underneath inexperienced.
Once more, in practically each different scenario the place a lapped automotive (not a automotive making an attempt to remain on the lead lap) finally ends up forward of a battle for the lead in a race, an official in race management asks that the crew – significantly the spotter – of the lapped automotive be made conscious of the leaders approaching.
Elliott by no means obtained out of the best way of the approaching Harvick/Larson battle, as an alternative remaining in entrance of Harvick as Larson obtained round him for the lead with 4 laps to go. Larson went on to win the race.
Not as soon as because the scenario unfolded was the No. 9 automotive talked about on race management radio, not to mention was the crew requested to learn of what was developing behind him.
To date, these incidences have been attributed to “situational issues.”
Sure, each scenario is totally different.
However earlier than punishing any driver or crew sooner or later for actions that have an effect on the result of a race, NASCAR ought to first hearken to its personal silence on the difficulty.