INDIANAPOLIS— After a wild and crazy Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, was made available to the media to discuss the final moments of the event and other pressing issues.
As darkness loomed over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400 went into double overtime. As sunset approached, the second attempt at NASCAR Overtime ended the event.
The problem for many was that the cars were wrecking well before the overtime line before NASCAR threw the caution flag. Ultimately NASCAR threw the caution flag after race winner, Kasey Kahne crossed the overtime line.
“What we have always said and been consistent, as much as I talked about it, we are going to make every attempt to finish the race under green. To do that, you have to see what happens with an incident,” said O’Donnell. “In this case, we did that. Once we decided to throw the caution when we wanted to dispatch equipment, we also knew there was oil on the race track, and threw the caution. Ultimately, that was the end of the race.”
When asked if darkness played a factor into the decision, O’Donnell stated, “It didn’t, but we would not have been able to restart that race. There was oil down. It would have been another red flag. I think the last red flags were 15 to 20 minutes with oil. We were up against it as well.”
O’Donnell clarified that when the leader crosses the overtime line and the caution falls, that the race was official.
As NASCAR finished close to darkness, O’Donell stated that they have not discussed the start times of the event.
During the final red flag period of the race, NASCAR parked Landon Cassill of Front Row Motorsports for driving under the red flag. Cassill’s spotter did not hear the call from the NASCAR official that the red flag has been displayed. O’Donnell was unsure of what the specific reason was behind the call.
“We checked with the spotters. We made sure the sight lines were still good. Obviously, if you continued to have cautions and red flags, that would have been a problem, but we wanted to make every attempt to go back green. The cleanup did a great job to get us back going,” said O’Donnell about the looming darkness.
NASCAR is expected to show photo proof that the leaders were in fact across the overtime line at the time of caution.
Don’t like the overtime line rule? O’Donnell mentioned that the sanctioning body is in discussions about potentially moving the overtime line to the start/finish line in the future.