It’s very rare for NASCAR to miss a call; When they do, they typically own up to it
Chase Elliott: “Short track dirt racers around the country race with no spotters.”
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series unloaded at Kansas Speedway. It was the opening race in the Round of 8 for the Playoffs.
NASCAR missed a call in the race. It’s a rare situation for them to miss a call. And this time, like in the past, they have admitted to missing the call, taking blame.
The NASCAR rule book states that radio communication is a requirement. Section 188.8.131.52.h states that communication must be clear between driver, crew chief and spotter.
Chase Elliott saw radio issues come into play in stage one of the 267 lap race. He was the race leader as he told the crew not to talk.
It’s a very rare situation for NASCAR to miss a call. When it happens, they own up to it. Such as the case for Kevin Harvick in 2018 or Kyle Larson in 2017.
Chase Elliott: Radio Issues
During a regularly scheduled pit stop, Elliott was given a set of replacement ear buds on lap 83. However, he was unable to replace them under his helmet.
Had NASCAR forced Chase Elliott to the pit lane to fix the radio issues, it would have had major points implications. Elliott was the winner in stage one and he finished 5th in stage two.
In collection of both stages, Elliott earned a significant amount of points. He earned 16 stage points, 20 is the highest amount possible.
If Elliott was forced to pit under green, he would have gone a lap down. Forcing him to pit under caution would have put him at the tail of the field for a restart. Either of those options would have easily cost several stage points had he been forced to the pit lane in stage one or two.
Scott Miller on NASCAR radio rules and penalties
“Most of the times when we have brought people in, it, ironically, has been because they’ve had either a speeding on pit road, some kind of pit road infraction or some other infraction and we communicate to the spotter to bring the driver down pit road and there is no response,” ,” NASCAR director Scott Miller said via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“That’s when we typically become aware of a radio problem. In those cases, when the driver doesn’t respond to what the spotter is asking him to do, we always make them come down and fix it.”
NASCAR director on Elliott’s issue directly:
“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.”
“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.”
Miller concluded, “One we might have missed. That was the decision we made and on to Texas.”
Chase Elliott details radio communication issues
“The good news was they could hear me, I just couldn’t hear them once we went green. Once we kind of had the situation understood, that they could hear me and I just couldn’t hear them, that helped, obviously,” Elliott told NBC Sports after the race.
“And then from there, I just kind of knew what to expect. I was just trying to pay attention to lap count and when everybody else was going to start pitting or not. But I don’t think it ultimately hindered our performance at all.”
“I didn’t think it was unsafe. Honestly, I never even though about that. Short track dirt racers around the country race with no spotters, every weekend. We have both. I don’t know why we can’t handle it if your radios go bad.”
Despite a top-10 run in Kansas, Elliott heads into Texas under the cut line.
“I think for us we just have to treat every week like it’s our last chance, like it’s the last race of the year because that’s the best way I think we can approach them.”
Elliott added, “I think if you were ever to make the final four one day you’re going to be better prepared for it because you’ve got to go to that last race and likely win. I think the more we put ourselves in that position, recognize that now, the better off we’ll be and the better we’ll be prepared.”
Only three races remain in the 2020 NASCAR season. Texas and Martinsville are up next, the last chance for drivers to advance into the finale at Phoenix Raceway.