Late in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Collection race on the Charlotte Roval, the rear bumper cowl of Chase Elliott’s #9 Hendrick Motorsports 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 reigning Cup champion with extreme rear-end harm.
In just about each case such conditions have occurred prior to now when observed by NASCAR, a race management official asks that the group be made conscious of the difficulty, and most instances, if the group doesn’t convey the automotive to pit highway to handle it, NASCAR may have the automotive black-flagged to make sure it does.
On Sunday, there was by no means a phrase on NASCAR race management radio in regards to the #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 broadly famous – together with by drivers on different groups over their radios.
On lap 87 – shock, shock – NASCAR was pressured to throw a warning for particles on the monitor, because the bumper cowl lastly got here off and landed on the racing floor.
The warning turned out to be a fantastic 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.
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Components
Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
Not solely did the warning permit the sector to shut up for the warning, however it gave Elliott a powerful alternative to achieve quite a few positions on what have been usually chaotic restarts.
Because it turned out, Elliott rallied to complete twelfth – a exceptional restoration contemplating the harm to his automotive and he superior to the semi-final spherical of the sequence playoffs.
Scott Miller, NASCAR’s government vp 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 response made clear that NASCAR was conscious of the difficulty from the start.
“You’ve in all probability seen bumper covers flapping loads at Martinsville and us letting it go, so once more these are situational issues,” he stated. “The bumper cowl at excessive velocity race tracks is definitely a part of the protection of the automotive – for when the automotive turns round backwards, having the bumper cowl on there lowers the lift-up velocity 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 vehicles, the place if it fell off somebody would instantly run over it. Once more, like every part we do within the tower, there may be lots of issues to course of and lots of selections to be made and that was the one we made yesterday due to all these components.”
The issue with NASCAR’s clarification is obvious – it omits any reference to the sanctioning physique’s repeated acknowledged need of race management to not intervene with the pure course of the race.
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Workplace, Matt DiBenedetto, Wooden Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang Menards/Duracell
Photograph by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images
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 probability it will nonetheless land on the monitor, which might power NASCAR to throw a warning. And that’s precisely what occurred.
Throwing a warning for one thing that might have been simply corrected and prevented with out one fully interferes with the pure course of the race.
Elliott was not going to win the race both method, 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 Motor Speedway, Harvick appeared on his option to a victory within the closing laps when he got here up on Elliott, who was a lapped automotive, whereas attempting 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 tyre and compelled him to pit below inexperienced.
Once more, in almost each different state of affairs the place a lapped automotive (not a automotive attempting 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 group – notably the spotter – of the lapped automotive be made conscious of the leaders approaching.
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hooters, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Subway Supply
Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
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 state of affairs unfolded was the #9 automotive talked about on race management radio, not to mention was the group requested to be told of what was developing behind him.
To date, these incidences have been attributed to “situational issues.”
Sure, each state of affairs is totally different. However earlier than punishing any driver or group 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.