DOVER, DEL. (AP) - With one unfortunate cable snap, NASCAR set a new precedent for working on cars under a red flag.
That’s just fine with the drivers.
Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon was one of many Sprint Cup drivers who agreed that NASCAR made the proper call. Officials allowed teams back to their pits to get their cars back to race trim during a 30-minute red flag caused when an overhead cable camera snapped at Charlotte last Sunday. Ten fans were injured when a part of the rope landed in the grandstand.
Several drivers, including then-leader Kyle Busch, reported damage to their cars from the rope.
“Those are things outside your control as a driver and as a team,” Gordon said. “It’s not fair to those competitors that could have really ended their race or really taken them out of competition. I was pretty proud of the way that they handled it.”
Gordon’s car was damaged in a 2004 race in Martinsville when a chunk of concrete came loose and heavily damaged his car. The race was not stopped and Gordon was not allowed time for his crew to attempt repairs.
“I think when something like that happens, I think that they should throw a red flag and fix the problem and then allow the teams to make repairs,” Gordon said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen back in the day when we had that issue at Martinsville.”
Two laps were completed after the cable fell, and several drivers ran over it. They didn’t even know what it was until the red flag was called.
“I couldn’t see what it was and I went by it twice,” Jimmie Johnson said. “It was thin, black, cable or rope or whatever. … But you can’t see it. Especially when it is dark out, there’s a black surface and it’s hanging in the sky.”
Kurt Busch also backed NASCAR’s decision.
“If you’re sitting there and you don’t take advantage of that situation, then other teams are just going to pass you while you’re literally sitting still in the garage or on pit road,” he said. “You could work on your cars so let her rip.”
TNT will not use an overhead camera when it starts its six-race run next week at Pocono Raceway.