It wouldn’t be a NASCAR race without a little controversy.
With 10 to go in Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race leader Cameron Haley was in the process of being swallowed up by the pack when he drifted toward the inside of the track. Scott Lagasse Jr. and Johnny Sauter were pulling out to pass the #24 truck. As they did that Haley took both trucks all the way to the double yellow. Yeah, you know where this is going.
Lagasse and Sauter dipped below the double yellow, completed the pass and were back above it entering turn 3. Essentially the same exact thing the conspired between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch in last Sunday’s Clash race.
Here is what happened Friday night;
— Matt Niehaus (@MattNiehausAO) February 17, 2018
Clearly, the #24 when to block and the #20 and #21 went below the yellow line to get around him. Per the NASCAR rulebook and the precedent they have set in the past, that’s a penalty.
Here is what happened with Stenhouse and Busch;
Here's a replay. What do you think?https://t.co/eHtj3kk5ZC
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 12, 2018
Not much of a difference between the two incidents. One was at night and the other was in a non-points race. As soon as it happened fans were on Twitter asking why it wasn’t a penalty.
NASCAR VP Steve O’Donnell responded to fans questioning NASCAR’s no-call Friday night.
Bad angle. 24 truck loose. Comes down track. Both trucks went there to avoid in our opinion https://t.co/y8gIj7dwsk
— Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) February 17, 2018
O’Donnell’s response was lackluster to say the least. A bad angle is not a valid excuse, if there is a better angle, show it. From the angle, we have seen the trucks clearly go below the yellow line. Good angle or bad angle the #20 and #21 go below that line. You know how everyone knows that? Because the yellow line disappears when those two trucks are on top of it.
Another reason they weren’t penalized is that the #24 truck was loose. Which doesn’t make sense considering they’re on the straightaway and the #4 truck is already passing him. You could maybe make the argument he was loose but he has complete control when he sees the #20 and #21 inside him.
The #20 and #21 consciously made a move below the yellow line. The same situation in The Clash with Stenhouse. Both situations the passing driver moved low to avoid contact except one situation was a penalty and the other was not.
NASCAR needs to be consistent with these penalties. Either penalize the trucks/cars that go below the line or penalize the driver that forced the passing trucks low. Unfortunately, this has developed into NASCAR’s version of the NFL’s dreaded “catch rule.” There’s nothing concrete about it.
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