First off, before we get too deep into what a senior NASCAR official said on Monday morning’s “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, I want to say that I applaud NASCAR for standing up and getting in front of this topic. But, for this to come out now and the way that it did, it’s going to rile up this sports’ fan base.
NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition, Scott Miller, addressed the Chase Elliott situation on the morning talk show. See, on Sunday, Elliott was having radio issues all race at the Kansas Speedway. He was having difficulties hearing his team inside of his No. 9 Chevrolet.
A lot of people were wondering why Elliott wasn’t black flagged and forced to come down pit road to fix it. They could communicate during the caution periods, but once the car was at speed during the green flag runs, communication between his team with him was difficult.
According to NASCAR rules, it’s a judgement call on whether to force them to fix their radio issues or not. That’s why most thought that NASCAR was just going to let this ride out. But, NASCAR admitted on Monday that they were wrong and he should have been penalized in fact.
“We were made aware of that, and we have a lot going on in the tower and we can’t monitor every single radio transmission from all the teams, but we do keep tabs on that,” Miller said. “We did get word that there was some potential problem. … When we listened to some of the dialogue back and forth on the scanner, it seemed as though Chase was communicating with his crew chief about the car and there was some dialogue back. We felt like they were in communication with one another.
“Obviously by his interview at the end of the race, we were wrong about that. That’s one of the things about officiating these races, we make decisions and we live with them and we have to move on to the next race. Maybe we missed that one, and maybe we should have had him in there because they’re supposed to have all that communication.
“There was the dialogue, back and forth between he and the crew chief that led us to believe they were OK. Turns out from his interview afterwards they weren’t. One we might have missed. That was the decision we made and on to Texas.”
This is going to open up the flood gates of conspiracy theories now. Elliott, is the two time defending Most Popular Driver in the sport and fans of other drivers are going to use that as ammunition on why Elliott wasn’t forced to pit road to fix. That’s because, if Elliott was made to pit, they would have lost several laps and not have finished sixth. That would essentially put him in a likely must win situation over the next two weeks in order to make it to the Championship 4.
Elliott, didn’t think the lack of communication was worrisome though.
“I didn’t think it was unsafe,” he said. “I never really even thought about it.
“Short-track dirt racers around the country race with no spotters every weekend … I don’t know why we can’t handle it if your radios go bad.”