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.
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Xfinity Series ran a new competition package at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR was pleased with what they saw in the eye ball test.
After the Lilly Diabetes 250, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, was made available to the media after the event to discuss the package.
“Overall, certainly pleased with what we saw on the racetrack. From an eye test, definitely passed. When you look at the metrics, right, it’s the most leaders we’ve had, most lead changes, closest finish. So certainly on the quick recap, some really great metrics,” said O’Donnell.
There were 16 lead changes among eight different drivers The previous record was nine lead changes. The previous record of different drivers was six. The margin of victory was just 0.108 seconds.
Drivers like Joey Logano, referenced the fact that the cars were slow. O’Donnell, on the other hand, had a different opinion about it.
“So speeds, you know, some race, you know, you’re going 200, some you’re, you know, down in the 100s on a road course. What at the end of the day that matters is how many lead changes did we have and was it competitive throughout. And we thought it was today,” said O’Donnell.
Before coming to Indianapolis, NASCAR knew that this would not produce racing seen at Talladega and Daytona. The first objective was to make sure that the gap could be closed from first to second, something NASCAR saw today. NASCAR will evaluate how two to there cars could pull away, and if they can close that gap, they will.
O’Donnell did not mention that this was just an Indy specific package. NASCAR will evaluate what happened at Indy to look at potentially using this package at other tracks.
At the Research and Development Center, there was advocation for restricting the engine, especially at Indianapolis. NASCAR and O’Donnell thought that the restrictor plate played somewhat how they thought it would.
While drivers complained that it was hard to pass, O’Donnell was adamant that these are the worlds greatest drivers and that passing should be difficult.
As talks and evaluation of the data from the package and its success unfold in the coming weeks, NASCAR will continue researching to see where this package would end up in the future.