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10/31 2016

NASCAR takes 29 laps to solve scoring predicament at Martinsville Speedway…”as NASCAR channels U.S. Goverment…says RR-AZ”   THE RECORD CAUTION TOOK 25 MINUTES TO SORT OUT BY:  MATT WEAVER

A perfect storm of circumstances led to a 29-lap caution and a scoring controversy on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. It was a chaotic situation that NASCAR deemed necessary to make the right call during a vital race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup semifinals.The ordeal began on lap 356, when Carl Edwards blew a tire and scored leader A. J. Allmendinger ran out of fuel right in the middle of green flag pit stops. Several drivers had not yet completed their scheduled pit stop.

Then Jimmie Johnson, one of the few still on the lead lap, inadvertently hit his engine kill switch, stalling his Chevrolet on the backstretch.

Each problem delayed the restart, and confused drivers lined up three wide to protest where NASCAR had placed them before restarting the race. In all, the predicament took 25 minutes to sort out and left drivers feeling that the sanctioning body had made a series of mistakes.

Hamlin was one such driver.

“The 83 (Dylan Lupton), the 4 (Kevin Harvick), the 42 (Kyle Larson) and the 6 (Trevor Bayne) just blew right by us trying to steal a lap back, and two of them got away with it,” Hamlin said. “We’re in the big leagues and you have to get it right. Even if they had to red flag it to review the tape. I mean, I had 20 cameras on my car; one of them saw those guys going around us. It’s disappointing, but it doesn’t affect our day.”

Kyle Busch was simply confused.

“All I knew is that when I came off pit road, I beat the leader, so that allowed me to stay on the lead lap,” Busch said. “From there it didn’t seem like it was that hard to figure out, but NASCAR couldn’t figure it out. They’re a hell of a lot smarter than me, so maybe there was another problem that I saw.”

There was a lot going on.

Jeff Gordon was scored eighth but was the recipient of the free pass during the caution for Edwards’ blown tire. Johnson was second when he hit the kill switch and fell to sixth. Gordon was lined up behind a pair of lap-down drivers in Kurt Busch and Casey Mears, who were placed in front of the lucky dog due to having not pit.

Twenty-one drivers opted to take the wave-around because they had already completed their pit stop but were trapped a lap or more down. Those drivers lined up behind the leaders and the recipient of the lucky dog, Gordon.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director feels the 25 minutes paid off with the correct actions taken.

“Today’s situation was very unique, and we were in the middle of green-flag pit stops,” Richard Buck said. “That presents one set of issues, and then as we got the lineup ready, we had the leader run out of fuel, so we had to start over.

“We understand the stakes of the Chase; they are extremely high. Our job is to get it right. We then had another dynamic with (a large group) of wave-arounds. We took our time to make sure we got it right. It took a while but we felt very confident we got it right.”

Brad Keselowski finished second to Johnson but believes the wasted laps ultimately cost him a chance at victory lane.

“We don’t need to run 100 laps under the yellow with the field not knowing where they’re at,” Keselowski said. “It probably cost us the race.”