NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer addressed the finishes for both the Daytona 500 and the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 for the Xfinity Series.
The Daytona 500 ended under caution after Kyle Larson spun out and slammed the wall hard, nose first. The wreck would also collect Brad Keselowski who went flying into the outside wall, crumpling his car’s front end.
During the race commentator Mike Joy explained how NASCAR would decide who won the race between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano.
He said, “It is not the flag. It is not the caution lights. It is NASCAR’s decision as to where those two cars were when the button was pushed to activate the caution.” NASCAR would decide Stenhouse Jr. was the leader and was declared the winner of the race.
Following the conclusion of the race Sawyer addressed the ending, “I think, first and foremost, Pete and Mike, we want to finish the event under green flag conditions. That’s our number one goal. And as you look back on the history of our sport, you know, at some point you have to — you go into overtime. And we have unlimited attempts at that. And something starts the process and something will end the process.”
“And the way we’ve defined that is once you take the white flag then the next flag will end it. If we haven’t taken the white flag, as you alluded to earlier, we’ll rerack them and do that as many times as we need to. But once the white flag has been displayed to the leader then the next flag will end the event,” he explained.
Sawyer continued, “As we saw on Saturday we are trying to do our best in the tower to make sure we can get cars back to the start/finish line, but when you have an accident and you have a vehicle upside down like we did with Sam Mayer then we have to throw the caution. We have to start dispatching safety equipment and get to the scene as quick as we possibly can. So we need vehicles to slow down.”
“So once all of that was in place then we go back — and we needed to get it right,” he said. “It didn’t need to be a decision that we made in the tower fast. It was a decision that we needed to get right. So we used all available resources as we do when we’re paying points and money. We would have done the same thing at the end of a stage to make sure we got it correct.”
As we looked through it, we had the video. We had the time stamp when the caution came out and then you put that with the video. And it was close, but the 21 of Austin Hill and then it became the 20 then the 7, 31, and I’m not sure who the fifth place car was, but they were all right there together. And that’s kind of the process.
As you fast forward, we had the same situation on Sunday, and had to go through the same process again. Once you’ve had cars in an accident that hit like the 5 and the 6 and others in that accident on Sunday. The same process, we’ve got to as quick as possible get emergency vehicles dispatched to the scene and we need vehicles to slow down.
He then concluded, “Kind of walks you through, you know, all three events over the weekend were unique and had their challenges, but was really proud of our team and the support that we got in the tower from being able to make the right decisions on all those calls.”
Logano was leading the race right before Larson wrecked, but Stenhouse Jr. did have a run on the bottom. By the time Larson impacts the wall, Stenhouse Jr. passed Logano.
So as Mike Joy noted during the live coverage of the event, it all depends on when NASCAR decided when the caution came out.
What do you make of Sawyer’s comments about the ending of the Daytona 500?