TALLADEGA, Ala. – Elliott Sadler’s Xfinity Series victory Saturday in the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway took five minutes to be declared official by NASCAR officials.
Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton held a news conference after the race explaining the process of how eight officials in the scoring tower determined Sadler, who collided with leader Joey Logano off the final turn, was ahead of Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier when the yellow flag waved.
Poole took the checkered flag in first but was ruled to have finished third.
Though Sadler’s No. 1 Chevrolet went below the double-yellow line after Logano’s crash, Auton said NASCAR ruled it didn’t advance a position and had been forced low by the contact.
In the return of a rule requiring teams to fasten all five lug nuts, Auton said there were no postrace infractions.
Here’s a transcript of Auton’s remarks:
What was your view of the finish?
“At the end of the race there, we knew everyone would be jockeying for position trying to get that win to get into the Xfinity Chase with the Xfinity drivers. We use every resource we can. Our main goal is to make sure that we got it right. It took us a little time up in the tower. We feel 100% we got it exactly right. We used film. We used eyes, which mine are about wore out watching these cars today. These guys done one exceptional job today with a great race. We took our time in the tower. All of you saw (Sadler) and (Poole) come and set at the start-finish line, which was pretty cool of both drivers just sitting there really calm, knew that we were checking it. We used every bit of film we had. Slow down, speed up. Slow down, speed up. We arrived at the finish we did by using every piece of technology that we had to our availability.”
How much did NASCAR use video in determining the finish?
“We used video today every means we could from inside and outside the track and aerial as soon as the caution was out to position the cars at the time the caution was displayed.”
Were there any problems with teams being required to fasten five lug nuts?
“I’m so proud of this garage. It’s really cool to see the talent, not only the drivers and crew members, and they all done a great job today. We had no issues with the lug nuts today. Everyone had them glued up as they were asked to do prior to the race and kept them glued up all day.”
Sadler went below the yellow line; did his contact with Logano make that allowable?
“The rule is you can not go below the double yellow line to advance his position. He did not advance a position. And he was also forced down there when (Logano) and him made contact. In our eyes, he did not gain any positions. He was already there. It was legal by the rules.”
Why was the caution thrown instead of letting the race play out?
“That’s real easy to answer. Our No. 1 job is safety of these drivers, crew members, fans. When you see a car turn hard right, and in the years I’ve been in this business, it’s pretty scary. And with all the safety features, we applied the SAFER walls around our tracks now on the exterior, and the safety features inside the car, our No. 1 concern was when (Logano) hit to make sure Joey was OK. Automatically, we put out the caution. We felt it was the right time. Another car made contact with (Logano) when he come off the wall, but we needed guys to roll out of the throttle for the safety of all the other drivers who finished the race all the way to the line.”