Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer will not be penalized for their altercation after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, a NASCAR executive said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told “The Morning Drive” that series officials will look at the role of crew members in the altercation.
“In those situations, the key for us is to make sure that the crew members are not coming in and escalating things,” O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “If anything, we’ve just got to go back and look and make sure that’s not the case from our perspective.
“There’s a lot on the line there for the drivers and we certainly don’t want to encourage that but understand that it gets heated at times. Our thing is to make sure crew members are not getting in there and piling on a driver so to speak vs. trying to deescalate the situation.”
Reddick and Custer approached each other after the race on pit road to discuss an incident between them late in the race. Cuter made a comment and put his hand on Reddick’s shoulder. Reddick responded by grabbing Custer with both hands. Crew members swarmed.
O’Donnell also addressed other topics on his appearance:
He said that series officials talked with Garrett Smithley after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. Smithley was five laps down when the leaders approached but ran in their lane and caused Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell to crash late in the race.
“We talked to the driver afterwards,” O’Donnell said. “Spotter communication was not where it should have been. I think you look at the history of what’s happened on the track with each particular driver and address it from there. We do have mechanisms we can pull if it’s something we see a pattern with. This one was certainly unfortunate with the leaders out there and created an entirely different race. We communicate from the tower as well as we’re coming down the closing laps to let it play out and give the leaders room. That one was not how we wanted it to play out for sure.”
Smithley had been in the center of an incident with Kyle Busch in the Cup playoff opener at Las Vegas when Busch ran into the back of Smithley’s slower car.
O’Donnell also addressed the caution that came out that led to the second overtime restart in the Cup race. An NBC Sports replay (see below) showed the caution light on as Denny Hamlin was within about a car length of the start/finish line. Had Hamlin reached the line before the caution, the field would have been frozen and the race would have ended under caution.
“If you look at the language, it’s when the leader takes the white at the line,” O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The white flag was certainly out but there is a human element to the sport in terms of timing. It’s not an automatic where a light goes on and flag waves. In this case, the light actually came on, I think it was .125 (seconds) before (Hamlin’s) car hit the start/finish line. It was a caution at that point. Certainly very close.”