A NASCAR official admitted that “a little bit of a mistake” was made at the end of Saturday’s Xfinity race but also was uncertain why the matter confused drivers.
Saturday’s Xfinity race went to overtime after a late caution. The rule states that once the leader crosses the overtime line after the restart and the caution comes out, the race will conclude under caution.
A caution came out just after leader Kyle Larson crossed the overtime line in Turn 3 at Richmond International Raceway. When the leaders came by the start/finish line, though, the flagman waved the white flag to signify the final lap instead of the yellow flag.
Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, explained the situation Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“The race was declared in overtime,’’ he said. “As soon as the leader crosses the overtime line, the race is official and we put the yellow out. All of that transpired. The yellow lights came on like they always do.
“It happened really fast and by the time the leaders got back to the start/finish line, our flagman still had the white flag in his hand and not the yellow. I think that was the source of some of the confusion. It’s almost a little confusing to me as to how that created the confusion because it’s been standard protocol for many years now that when the yellow lights come on the track is under caution.
“A little bit of a mistake on our part not getting the yellow flag out quick enough at the start/finish line. You think back to how the races go, if we have a caution that comes out and the leader is in Turn 2, he certainly doesn’t see the yellow flag at the flag stand, he sees the yellow lights and slows down. That’s what we’ve done for years, so why that didn’t happen, I’m not 100 percent sure.’’
Before Sunday’s Cup race, Richard Buck, Cup series director, addressed how the Xfinity race ended in the drivers meeting after Landon Cassill raised a question about it.
Buck told competitors that “the lights supersede the flag on the racetrack.’’