A NASCAR executive reaffirmed Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio the sanctioning body’s decision not to penalize Denny Hamlin for wrecking Chase Elliott in the final laps of Sunday’s Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
Elliott led when Hamlin rammed him in the back, causing Elliott to spin and hit the wall on Lap 498 of the 505-lap race.
As they drove at reduced speed after the race, Elliott turned his car into Hamlin’s car and forced it into the wall. They both exited their cars and had a heated exchange.
Asked on “The Morning Drive” about NASCAR’s perspective of the incident during the race, Steve O’Donnell, the sanctioning body’s chief racing development officer, said:
“Certainly, what Chase was able to do in an attempt to win his first race there, I think you saw by the fans how much he has a fan base and how much everyone wants to see him win. Denny, I think, did in his mind what he needed to do and probably went too far.
“We did not make a call there. That race stands. We’re not in the business of calling an in-race penalty postrace. That was good hard racing, for the most part, all day at Martinsville.
“I think Denny might have crossed the line as he put out there on Twitter, and I thought Chase handled himself very well postrace. Showed some passion. That’s what the sport is all about. He’s got a long career ahead of him. I think he’ll be up front leading many times.’’
Asked if there was any discussion about the postrace contact Elliott made with Hamlin’s car as Hamlin’s window net was down, O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:
“Not really. You’re at a short track and not at speed. … For us, that was just part of Martinsville.’’
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Kyle Busch won the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his second Truck Series pole at the track.
Driving his No 4. Toyota, Busch put down a top speed of 179.743 mph.
Matt Crafton qualified second with a speed of 179.220 mph.
“My lap was pretty good, certainly felt more stuck (to the track) the first time around than the second time around,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “We even picked up a little bit of time on that second one. … We were really, really tight here last year and made some good changes to it through the offseason with notes and things and coming back here better prepared.”
The top five is completed by Noah Gragson (179.214), Spencer Davis (178.862) and Justin Haley (178.775).
Gragson and Davis give Kyle Busch Motorsports three of the first four starting spots.
Johnny Sauter, who won last week at Daytona, will start ninth.
Busch’s pole is his second of the weekend. He also won the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race.
The Active Pest Control 200 begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
Click here for the starting lineup.
HAMPTON, Georgia — Rookie Christopher Bell qualified first for Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 181.176-mph lap in his No. 20 Toyota.
it’s the second pole in 10 starts for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
Joey Logano was second in his No. 22 Ford, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer and Kevin Harvick.
Click here for the Xfinity Series qualifying results and click here for the Xfinity lineup by row.
The Xfinity race will start at 2:16 p.m. ET, starting a doubleheader with the truck series at Atlanta.
HAMPTON, Georgia – The threat of inclement weather has moved up the start of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by an hour.
NASCAR announced Saturday morning that the green flag will fall on the second race of the 2018 season at 1:06 p.m. ET.
Races become official after the second stage. The second stage of Sunday’s 500-mile race will end on Lap 170 of 325.
The wunderground.com site calls for an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday with the forecast worsening from 10 a.m.
HAMPTON, Georgia — Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both will be held during the final Cup Series practice Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Because his No. 78 Toyota failed to clear prequalifying inspection three times Friday, Truex will miss the final 30 minutes of the 80-minute session that will begin at noon ET. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be out for the last 15 minutes because it failed the new Optical Scanning Station twice.
Harrison Rhodes also will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gray Gaulding Jr., Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt each will miss 15 minutes because they were late to qualifying inspection.
NASCAR changed its policy on how practice holds will be conducted this season. Instead of serving the penalty in the pits at the start of the session, drivers will park their cars for the length of the penalty up until the end of the session.