NASCAR’s Pit Road Penalty Inconsistencies Flare Up At Texas On Sunday

NASCAR has a history of being wildly inconsistent when it comes to issuing penalties and Sunday at Texas was no different.

This time the inconsistencies pertained to pit road and specifically what counts as an “uncontrolled tire” in the pit box. It’s a rather cut and dry rule but in typical NASCAR fashion nothing is ever cut and dry and everything is open to interpretation. Like everything Sunday saw a judgment call change the outcome of the race.

THIS WAS A PENALTY

Ryan Blaney was given a drive-through penalty for an “uncontrolled tire” it was a borderline call that in all honesty wasn’t a penalty. A trigger-happy tower deemed it a penalty even though it was still in the pit box/on the line not moving. Here is Blaney’s “penalty.”

Unreal to call a penalty on that. The tire was never in the way of another car, was never a threat to roll further out onto pit road and was grabbed in a matter of seconds, 2.91 seconds to be exact. I did the stopwatch work, no need to send me gifts but if you want here my Amazon wish list. NASCAR essentially set the precedent with this call. Any tire left unattended is a penalty.

THIS WAS NOT A PENALTY

Meanwhile later in the race, we have Kevin Harvick on pit road for his final pitstop. Harvick and Kyle Busch were setting up to battle for the win on the final run to the checkered flag. Harvick’s team left the tire unattended as it rolled out of the pit box and on to pit road. Watch this;

The tire was unattended for 2.71 seconds AND a crew member ran onto a hot pit road with cars flying past him. HE WENT ON TO A HOT PIT ROAD TO GRAB A TIRE. That’s not a penalty in 2018 NASCAR apparently.

To recap, tire sits on the pit box line completely still, penalty. Tire rolls onto pit road, out of the reach of everyone in #4 Busch blue, a guy runs onto a hot pit road and that’s not a penalty.

WHAT’S THE RULE?

The tire must remain within an arm’s length reach of the crew member. Immediately Harvick’s team violated the rules because unless a 6’0 guy has the wingspan of a god damn Albatross that tire was out of reach for anyone on that team. Albatross’ have wingspans from 8 feet to 12 feet, watch your kids and small dogs around them.

“Moving in the same direction of the tire” well the gunman ran away from the tire and the tire changer waited until the tire was on pit road to make a move. 2/2 in violating the rule. The tire didn’t cross the center of pit road so maybe that’s why NASCAR ruled in the #4 teams favor.

WHAT’S NEXT?

NASCAR will likely have some stupid excuse for why it wasn’t a penalty and they’ll justify it however they want. No reasonable explanation will be given because one never is. What is certain will be the scrutiny they’re under the next time an uncontrolled tire penalty is issued.

Did NASCAR avoid penalizing Harvick in the hopes of setting up an exciting finish? You don’t want this to be Vince pulling the strings from the tower for the show.

Would they have penalized Harvick if this was lap 89 and not the last stop of the race? If this was the case what is the point in having rules at all?

Rules are meant to be cut and dry unfortunately they’re open to interpretation like a game of backyard football and what constitutes as two-hand touch and where the goal line is.

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