NASCAR VP: “In retrospect, looking at it, I think that certainly the penalty could have been called.”
Late in the race, a tire escaped control of the Stewart-Haas Racing crew. The rule is the tire must always be in control of a crew member. If not, it’s a pass through penalty.
However, Harvick was not penalized. He went on to finish 2nd to Kyle Busch after battling back from a failed pit gun.
Earlier in the race, Ryan Blaney and crew had a similar situation. The #12 Team Penske driver was penalized.
“There’s a lot of things on pit road that absolutely 100 percent indisputable,” Miller said. “ … One of the things that’s left – one of the few things that’s left – for the human to make the call on is the uncontrolled tire because there’s so many moving parts to a pit stop, we can’t automate that process.
“So, there’s judgment in those calls with the uncontrolled tire. And our guys’ judgment; the tires that were called got away from the guy further than these did.”
“In retrospect, looking at it, I think that certainly the penalty could have been called because it has to be in arm’s reach of a guy as he’s trying to control that tire, and it’s debatable whether or not this one got more than arm’s reach away.”
The way it works is NASCAR pit areas are monitored by a digital camera system with was created by Hawk-Eye System. When something like that happens, the computer sends an alert to staff. They review it and if it’s a case where a penalty could be called then the officials in the trailer send it up to the tower for the final decision.
After the race, NASCAR conducted a post-race review which included that pit stop. They determined that they missed the call.
“It was a judgment call, and after conducting a post-race review of the incident an uncontrolled tire penalty for the 4 car would have been correct,” Miller said Sunday night. “We missed that call.”
“The other thing speculating is that every pit stop gets reviewed or things like that,” Miller said. “Well, that’s actually not how it works. When there isn’t a call made from the pro trailer, there’s no review that gets triggered by anyone. And there’s enough penalties on pit road where not every single one can be reviewed. So, we have to rely on our staff in the Pro Trailer to make those calls.”
“One of the things that’s great about our sport is our ‘game’ doesn’t stop like it does in other sports when they stand there and look at the review. So, we have a race that’s continuing to run as we’re looking at these penalties and reviewing them and most of that is to learn because five or 10 minutes after the penalty happens is not the time to be calling the penalty.”
“So, we use the review process to not only check on calls but to get better and to have things to talk about in our meeting of ‘Hey, this could have gone this way’ or ‘This could have gone that way’ with our people so that we can have constant improvement in our process.”