For the second time in this Chase, a question was raised by a title contender about how effectively NASCAR cleans the track.
Kevin Harvick suffered two tire issues in last weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Goodyear confirmed that both tires were cut. A Goodyear official also said during the race that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s right front tire appeared to be cut. Other tire issues Sunday were related to teams not able to practice Saturday because of water seeping on to the track.
Crew chief Rodney Childers said a piece of debris was stuck in Harvick’s left rear tire that was cut on Lap 36. Childers said there was a “big puncture” in Harvick’s right rear tire cut later in the race.
“There was debris everywhere,’’ Harvick said afterward. “It seemed like a lot of people were hitting the wall and there was a lot of stuff out there today.”
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday that “I think there were one or two (tire issues) where it was debris on the track. That happens. That’s part of when we race. We try to do everything we can to make sure there’s nothing on the race track.’’
Last month, a few drivers, including Kyle Busch and Earnhardt, hit oil and smacked the wall at Charlotte Motor Speedway after officials cleaned the track. Busch and Earnhardt were both vocal about NASCAR missing the oil. NASCAR defended its actions and noted it had a person on the track, walking part of it to check for oil.