The rule is not new and NASCAR has made it clear that it is not going to get into judgment calls on such matters. So when Chase Elliott beat Ryan Blaney to the start/finish line to begin Sunday’s Cup race at ISM Raceway, it was an easy call for NASCAR to penalize Elliott for jumping the start.
“It’s a black-and-white call in letting the leader who has earned the pole to be the first to cross the start/finish line,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Monday.
Section 10.5.5.c states the rule for the start of the race.
O’Donnell said he talked with Elliott after the race. He said Elliott noted that Blaney spun his tires.
“We have tried to get out of making those calls,” O’Donnell said of judging who spun their tires. “We were in those calls before, who spun their tires, when they spun the tires and what happened and elected to just make it a black-and-white rule. Never a call you want to make but in this case, by the look on the track and the timing loop, one we had to make.”
Elliott’s penalty was to pass through pit road. The penalty dropped Elliott to last in the 36-car field at the time. He finished 14th.