NASCAR says ambulance driver did not follow directive, leading to incident

1 Comment

RICHMOND, Va. — A wayward ambulance did not stop when instructed to do so during Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway, causing an incident that forced Matt Kenseth out of the event and series officials pledging not to let it happen again.

Kenseth ran into the back of Clint Bowyer’s car when several cars braked because the ambulance was at the entrance of pit road during a caution on Lap 257. Kenseth’s car suffered a damaged radiator and did not continue, finishing 38th. Kenseth still qualified for the playoffs. Had there been a first-time winner Saturday, Kenseth would have missed the playoffs.

Scott Miller, senior vice president of competition for NASCAR, said the ambulance driver was instructed to stop before the vehicle did.

“We had a situation where a directive was given from the tower and it wasn’t followed, and we’ll do our due diligence why it wasn’t followed and make sure that we’re prepared to never make that mistake again,’’ Miller said after the race, which was won by Kyle Larson.

“It is a very strange thing. The track workers are usually very, very good at following the directives and tonight they didn’t.’’

Adding to the issue is that NASCAR did not close pit road with the ambulance blocking one of the lanes. Drivers criticized that move.

“I was alongside somebody to the right because I didn’t want to knock my nose off and I just turned into pit road and if I get busted (for a commitment line violation), I get busted,’’ Kyle Busch said. “It was just a mess. I think they gave everyone the benefit of the doubt on that one. That was a mistake on their part for opening it up too early.’’

NASCAR did not penalize anyone for a commitment line violation during that sequence.

Kasey Kahne said he had a close call trying to avoid cars and the ambulance entering pit road.

“Everybody is braking hard because what happens is the leaders go to the line and everybody speeds up to get there and it’s an accordion effect,’’ Kahne said. “It gets worse the further back. Usually you have a couple of lanes and you offset yourself. There was only basically one lane and everybody ran out of room.’’

Asked if they should have closed pit road, Miller said: “We probably should. Those calls are very dynamic. They happen very quickly. It’s the race director in charge of pit road open and close and it’s the track services and safety crew in charge of the other. we didn’t sync up tonight.’’

 and on Facebook

 

Truck practice report at Atlanta

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Haley was the fastest in the first of two practices Friday for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He had a top lap of 178.029 mph.

Daytona winner Johnny Sauter was second with a lap of 177.040 mph. He was followed by Myatt Snider (177.040 mph), Stewart Friesen (176.995) and Noah Gragson (176.589).

There were no incidents in the session.

Final Truck practice will be from 4:05 – 4:50 p.m. ET.

Click here for Truck 1 practice

Police investigating vandalism, theft at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of vandalism and theft at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the track, which last hosted a NASCAR Cup race in 1996, suffered damage of about $10,000 when several trespassers were on the grounds last weekend. No arrests have been made.

The report states that several windows were broken and other damage was done to the structures. Also, large amounts of electrical wire and circuit breakers were reported missing.

The investigation continues.

North Wilkesboro Speedway hosted NASCAR Cup races from 1949-96. Winners included Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Junior Johnson, Lee Petty, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon, who won the final race there.

 and on Facebook

 

Others’ predictions motivating Austin Dillon after Daytona 500 win: ‘I guess they don’t believe it yet’

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

HAMPTON, Ga. – Fresh off the greatest victory of his NASCAR career, Austin Dillon already has motivation to win the next.

The Richard Childress Racing driver heard others predict this week that the Daytona 500 would be his only victory this season.

“I think on Race Hub, Brad (Keselowski) and Chad (Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson) saying that we weren’t going to win again,” Dillon said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “So, that was good to hear. That was something to get me fired up a little bit more and our team, get those competitive juices flowing again. So, we will just keep rocking it however we can. We still have a lot to work on.”

Prior to Daytona, Dillon’s lone win in four seasons as a full-time Cup driver came in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600. His No. 3 Chevrolet qualified for the playoffs the past two seasons, but his top 10s (13 to four) and average finish (15.9 to 18.6) slipped demonstrably from 2016 to ’17.

“So yesterday in my group text with my buddies they watched Chad Knaus and Brad Keselowski, and it was like, ‘All right, it’s time to keep knocking them down, I guess they don’t believe it yet,’” Dillon said. “We’ve got to step up though at RCR. We’ve still got a lot to prove. It’s a speedway race, even though it’s the biggest race in our deal, it’s a speedway race.  We’ve got a lot more to prove.

“(Competition executive) Andy Petree and all the guys are RCR are working hard. I think coming down to a two-car team move is big for us. We’ve got to take advantage of that. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired right now, but we are going to kick butt this weekend and get back regrouped and get in the groove and try and gain as many bonus points as we can.”

But qualifying for the playoffs by winning the season opener should be a morale booster that avoids any letdown.

“The one thing they don’t have right now that we have is a win,” Dillon said. “So, we are on top right now, and no matter what they can’t take that away, and we are going to keep working.  I don’t expect us to lay down at all. I feel like now more than ever we need to go head on and go after it.”

Xfinity practice report from Atlanta

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christopher Bell posted the fastest lap in the first of two Xfinity practice sessions Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bell posted a lap of 178.447 mph. He was followed by Joey Logano (177.323 mph), Cole Custer (175.933), Ryan Reed (175.688) and Kevin Harvick (175.487). Daytona winner Tyler Reddick (175.388) was sixth on the speed chart.

There were no incidents in the session.

Final Xfinity practice will be from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET

Click here for practice 1 report