Both teams were under review after possible championship altering actions at Martinsville Speedway
Last Sunday, Martinsville Speedway hosted the last race of playoff eliminations ahead of this weekend’s championship finale. It was the final chance for drivers to make the championship round in Phoenix.
Denny Hamlin sat one point ahead of Kevin Harvick while also tied with Brad Keselowski, who was also one point ahead of Harvick. On the back bumper of Hamlin, was his teammate, Erik Jones. Radio communications told Jones not to pass Hamlin in the last 15 laps of the event.
On the final lap on the paperclip oval, Kevin Harvick was just 1 point below the cut line. He spun Kyle Busch in a desperate attempt to gain that point, wrecking himself in the process.
After the race, NASCAR stated they would review both situations.
NASCAR stated they would review each case
Scott Miller stated via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, “That will be something we look at.
“The race was over and we have to sort of move on to all of what we do post-race to get the cars captured and get them to inspection. That will be something else that we kind of look at today.”
“I personally haven’t even seen sort of the incident yet because … something that we’ll look at but it was not going to change anything last night. So, we’ll review that one as well.”
In regards to Jones he said, “We have to review that one a little bit more and listen to all the radio communication.”
Miller added “From my viewpoint, Erik Jones was beating the bumper off (Hamlin’s car), so it didn’t look like there was much going on there. It was pretty hard racing, but we will review the radio communication (Monday) and see if there is any action to be taken.”
Kevin Harvick on spinning Kyle Busch at Martinsville
If Harvick would have successfully spun out Kyle Busch, he’d be racing for a championship this weekend. Instead, the bold move saw Harvick parked against the inside wall, just a few hundred feet short of the finish.
“It was just a move I had to try knowing that I needed one point,” Harvick said after the race.
He added, “I needed to hit the 18 square in the door, but at that point I was too late and wound up hitting him in the back. It was just a Hail Mary that didn’t work out.”
Erik Jones not passing Denny Hamlin; Call came from team radio
Team order aren’t welcome in NASCAR. However, Joe Gibbs Racing pushed the boundaries on Sunday in Martinsville, Virginia.
Jones radio (Chris Gayle – Crew Chief): “The 11 is going to race you hard because he needs to, because it’s within like three points for those guys. He’s going to race you hard because it’s three points on those guys. Just so you’re aware.”
Erik Jones replied: “I’ve got a huge gap behind me.”
Jones radio: (Rick Carelli – Spotter): “Don’t pass him, Jones. Stay with him and drive what you can.”
Jones spent the rest of the race behind Hamlin. Denny Hamlin finished 11th and advanced into the championship round.
Jones stated on the radio after the checkered: “Good car, Chris, I don’t have much to say to you about the end. I’ll talk to you when I get in there.”
Gayle responded: “Yep. Exactly.”
After the race Hamlin said, “We obviously had a big goal in mind. We were 12th or 11th. Really wanted the spot. We obviously picked up lap times there at the end to ward him off. Got the high line going a little bit.”
Hamlin added, “I put myself kind of there because I was kind of getting roughed up a little bit with some other guys, didn’t want to cut a tire. I just kind of backed off and didn’t really run as hard as I needed to early in the run. Obviously the #4 was going for it a little bit. But I don’t fault Erik or anything. He finished behind us. We had enough to go on.”
NASCAR has since reviewed both situations. Harvick and Jones will not be penalized.