NASCAR won’t change overtime rules after Ryan Newman crash

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Changes won’t be made to overtime rules following Ryan Newman‘s violent crash in an overtime finish of the Daytona 500, a NASCAR executive said Saturday.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, spoke Saturday about NASCAR’s response to Newman’s crash in the immediate seconds after the car came to rest and in the days since with its investigation.

O’Donnell also said he’d “stand by” NASCAR’s caution procedures in the wake of the crash.

O’Donnell appeared with John Bobo, NASCAR vice president of racing operations, whose duties include overseeing the sanctioning body’s medical policies and procedures, and John Patalak, NASCAR senior director of safety engineers, who oversees safety functions and NASCAR’s R&D Center.

O’Donnell provided no information on Newman’s medical status, citing HIPAA laws. It was stated that Newman’s medical team will have to clear Newman to return to racing. NASCAR also will have to clear him. After Newman was released from the hospital Wednesday, Roush Fenway Racing said there was no timetable for his return.

During the news conference, O’Donnell outlined the response by safety and medical crews to Newman’s crash:

  • The safety truck arrived on the scene 19 seconds after Newman’s car came to rest.
  • One of the three trauma doctors arrived 33 seconds after Newman’s car came to rest.
  • A paramedic entered Newman’s car two seconds later.
  • For the next 3 1/2 minutes, two doctors and a paramedic attended to Newman.
  • The decision was made to roll Newman’s car over while continuing to aid the driver 4 minutes, 5 seconds after the car came to rest.
  • The car was rolled over and the extrication team began cutting the roof as a doctor continued to provide treatment to Newman 6:56 after car came to rest.
  • The roof was removed from the car 11:10 after Newman’s car came to rest.
  • The extrication of Newman completed 15:40 after the car came to rest .
  • During the entire time doctors and paramedics were attending to Newman except when the car was rolled over.

NASCAR took the cars driven by Ryan Newman and Corey LaJoie to its R&D Center to continue the investigation.

“On Tuesday, that started with the laying out of the vehicles in a secure space, where we have all the components and associated elements that come from the cars on the race track as well as the driver’s safety equipment,” Patalak said. “Really starting from the outside of the vehicles, slowing working our way in and assessing each of the individual safety systems and how they’ve performed individually, as well as together as a complete assembly, then ultimately how the two cars interacted together during the crash.”

Patalak listed “many sources of data” NASCAR is using during the investigation:

  • The incident data recorder in each car.
  • Footage from the high-speed camera that is inside each Cup car and pointed at the driver to see what a driver goes through in a collision.
  • ECU data and available telemetry data from the cars.
  • Broadcast and non-broadcast video sources.

“We’re currently working on synchronizing all of those data sets together in time … to create full picture of what happened as the crash unfolded,” Patalak said. “We’re working together with Roush Fenway Racing as well as outside experts as we continue to investigate and look forward to being able to provide more information sometime soon.”

O’Donnell said one of the reasons details on the wreck weren’t provided Saturday was that NASCAR hasn’t “had the chance to go through this with Ryan and his team, with the other drivers in the garage, but Ryan’s feedback as we go through this will be key. I think that’ll be a key component as it’s always been throughout the process when he’s been racing.”

O’Donnell expressed surprise that “we haven’t heard a lot (from drivers) about blocking or different things that occurred during the race.”

With the crash having happened five days ago, O’Donnell said “Our job now is to have continued dialogue with the drivers, see what happens in terms of this race package. Where there any changes from Talladega to Daytona in terms of how they races? How that may have contributed or not to this incident and if we can make some changes we will.”

Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark will speak to the media for the first time after the crash in a news conference scheduled for 12:45 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Newman was released from the hospital Wednesday, less then 42 hours after being injured in the Daytona 500.

Roush Fenway Racing announced the news in a release and via Twitter, posting a photo of Newman, clad in T-shirt and jeans, walking from Halifax Medical Center while holding the hands of his two daughters.

It was the second photo that the team had posted Wednesday; earlier reporting that Newman was walking around the hospital in good spirits and playing with his daughters.

Later that day, the team announced Ross Chastain would drive Newman’s car this weekend in Las Vegas while stating there was no timetable for Newman’s return.

More: Corey LaJoie texts with Ryan Newman, thanks fans for support

More Ryan Blaney talks to Ryan Newman, looks forward to seeing him at track

Krissie Newman also posted video of the family leaving the hospital.

 

Not long after his release, Newman met up with his friends Martin Truex Jr. and his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, in the driver motorhome lot at Daytona International Speedway.

Xfinity playoff grid after Indianapolis

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Chase Briscoe‘s continued dominance of the Xfinity Series over the weekend on the Indianapolis road course ensured no additional drivers locked themselves into the 12-driver playoff field.

Through 13 races, Briscoe and four other drivers have qualified for the playoffs via race wins. Briscoe, who has five race wins, leads the field with 28 playoff points.

The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Riley Herbst (+19 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+6 points).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-6), Alex Labbe (-32), Jeremy Clements (-49) and Josh Williams (-57).

Cup Series playoff grid after Brickyard 400

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With Kevin Harvick‘s victory Sunday in the Brickyard 400, no additional drivers locked themselves into the Cup Series playoff field.

But there was some movement at the bottom of the playoff grid as drivers jockey to make the 16-car field.

After he missed the race due to his COVID-19 diagnosis, Jimmie Johnson fell from 12th to 15th on the grid. He’s now 36 points above the cutline.

Matt DiBenedetto earned stage points in each stage before finishing 19th. He moved from 14th to 12th in the standings.

After earning stage points in both stages Sunday, Austin Dillon has cracked the top 16, moving up one spot. He has a six-point advantage over Erik Jones, who crashed out of Sunday’s race and had a 14-point advantage over Dillon entering the weekend.

With his ninth-place finish Sunday, Bubba Wallace is now within reach of the top 16. He sits at 19th, 42 points back from 16th.

Here’s the full playoff grid.

Oval or road course? Cup drivers address future of Brickyard 400

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For 27 years, the Cup Series has competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its annual Brickyard 400. All 27 of those races have been run exclusively on the track’s traditional 2.5-mile oval.

But following Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the track’s 2.4-mile, 14-turn road course, an obvious question has been raised:

Should the Brickyard 400 remain on the oval, where passing is made difficult due to a combination of the rules package and the design of the track, or should moving it to the road course be considered?

“I would never vote for that,” Kevin Harvick declared last week before he won his third Brickyard 400 on Sunday. “I love everything about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For me it is all about the oval … racing on the traditional track because for me I am kind of old school and I think that the Cup cars belong and really started the Brickyard 400.

“That was kind of what it was always meant to be, that iconic one-off, just the Cup cars event. I think with the Xfinity cars and the trucks and (ARCA Menards) cars and all the things that used to race at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), it was a great event. Hopefully the road course can kind of take that role that IRP used to have and be able to bring the Indy cars and NASCAR together to add to that event at the Speedway. For me personally, I would never vote for the Cup cars to not run on the oval.”

Harvick is joined in that camp by his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Aric Almirola, who finished third in Sunday’s race for his first top five and top-10 finish at Indy.

“I hope that we never stop running the oval,” Almirola said. “I just think it’s one of these places that regardless if it puts on the greatest race or not, it’s historic. It’s just a special place. It’s hard to explain when you don’t grow up a racer and you don’t aspire to come to race at Indy.

“But for me, I grew up watching stock car racing and dirt sprint car racing. I grew up watching Thursday Night Thunder, seeing so many guys go from USAC racing and sprint car racing to racing at Indy. It’s something I’ve always kept up with, always dreamed about getting the opportunity to race here. I get that opportunity now.”

Matt Kenseth, who finished second Sunday in his 20th Brickyard 400, said the Cup Series “should be” on the oval. But the Chip Ganassi Racing driver is open to the idea of Cup using the road course in some manner.

 “I think it’s one of those racetracks that we need to race at as long as we can,” Kenseth said of the oval. “It’s arguably the most famous speedway in the world, or one of them.

“To be able to race on the ovals with the Cup cars, which is the highest form of stock car racing here, we should be on the big track as well. I don’t think it would be bad to maybe test the road course and look into it, maybe do a second race on a road course, kind of like the IndyCars did this week.

“I really do think the Brickyard 400 has a lot of prestige. It’s not a southern race, but similar to the Southern 500, races like that. I think there’s a few of those races you sure would hate to see disappear.”

Crew chief describes ‘frightening’ scene on pit road at Indy

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Crew chief Todd Gordon said it was “frightening” to see rear tire changer Zach Price hit on pit road and then try to scoot away from cars during Sunday’s Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Price, who changes tires for Ryan Blaney’s team, was injured when he was struck by Brennan Poole’s car during a melee near the entrance of pit road early in the race.

Gordon, speaking Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said indications are that Price’s injury was a “fracture someplace in the knee area.”

Price was treated and released from an Indianapolis hospital on Sunday night and traveled home with the team. Gordon said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Price was scheduled to see a doctor Monday.

“Just hope to get him back and get him back going again and healthy,” Gordon said.

Gordon described what he saw as cars made contact.

“A really frightening moment for me,” he said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I was really terrorized when I saw (Price) drag himself back across the pit box arms only for a while there. As the situation kind of progressed and the medical staff was working with him, I could see in his face he was better off than I thought he was to start with.

“Fortunate that the guys got up and got at least in the air. The jackman (Graham Stoddard) got on top of the car. Just one of those terrible situations. I felt like those accidents happened mid-pit road. That’s why I picked way back there to be behind it.”

Said Justin Allgaier, who was involved in the accident on pit road that led to six cars eventually being eliminated:  “The No. 15 (Poole) actually got in the back of me. I didn’t know if I got the gentleman on (Blaney’s pit crew) or not. Once the wreck started happening in front of us and we all got bottled-up there, one car after another were getting run into.”

Indianapolis’ pit road is the most narrow of all the tracks the Cup Series races. The two travel lanes are 24 feet wide. The pit stall for each team is 15 feet wide.