With 16 laps to go in Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval, you could make a case that Stewart-Haas Racing manipulated the race to their own benefit. This wouldn’t be the first time the sport has seen something like this happen, although it tends to happen at Richmond.
Michael Waltrip Racing was found guilty of this act. Richard Childress Racing was blatantly guilty but NASCAR let them skate. Even Team Penske has been caught on the radio, once again NASCAR didn’t pursue penalties.
Back to Sunday at the Roval
With 16 laps to go Daniel Suarez got punted by Ryan Blaney, somehow the booth missed it on the live shot, but that’s neither here nor there. Where the #12 hit the #41 exiting turns 5 & 6 there is a large grass area and then pavement from part of the track the series doesn’t use. Suarez pushed the clutch in and rolled onto that unused pavement to refire the car.
While all of that was happening Suarez’s teammate Aric Almirola was hemorrhaging positions. He was bleeding out like a majestic Zebra on a Richard Childress led African safari. As he watched cars go past him with ease his status to advance to the next round of the playoffs went from “in” to “out” faster than Daniel Hemric’s career in the #8.
Conveniently while Almirola was struggling and desperately needed tires his teammate couldn’t get his car to refire. Just couldn’t do it. The car just wouldn’t refire, a car with EFI couldn’t restart. Caution.
Now it happens, sometimes things happen. But it is very convenient that it happened when it did. Almirola was then able to pit for fresh tires and give himself a fighting chance. Ultimately it didn’t work out. Almirola was eliminated from the playoffs.
Regardless, a deeper look into what was said to Suarez over the radio.
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