Denny Hamlin noted that NASCAR All-Star winner Ryan Blaney should have been black flagged for the window net
On Sunday night, NASCAR dropped the green flag on the All-Star Race. There’s no points on the line but the race at Texas Motor Speedway paid $1,000,000 to the race winner.
The race has a full set of unique rules. One of those is in regards to the finish of the race. The race must end under green flag conditions.
Typically, when the race leader takes the white flag, the next flag ends the race. That could be a yellow flag or checkered flag. But, for the All-Star race, if a yellow flag comes out on the last lap, the re-rack the field and send them into an overtime finish.
A yellow flag was thrown about 300 feet before Blaney crossed the finish line. Yet, he thought he was the winner. So, he took down his window net as he was set to celebrate the win.
Then, he was informed that the race wasn’t over at all. However, those window nets are impossible to latch from inside the car. He tried for multiple caution laps to get it done.
Eventually, Blaney detached the rear portion of the net. With the net being loose, he was able to get enough leverage to latch the net. However, the rear side of the net was waving loose in the air as it wasn’t locked into it’s proper seating.
NASCAR deemed it safe and dropped the green. Blaney held off Hamlin in the two-lap shootout to claim the $1,000,000 check.
Denny Hamlin comments
Hamlin finished 2nd and was nearly gifted the win. After the race, Hamlin was very vocal on the finish. He noted that Ryan Blaney should have been black flagged.
“Never should have been a yellow in the first place. They put Blaney in the situation he was in. To make up for it they let him break a rule. 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Blaney W, NASCAR L,” Hamlin added via twitter after the race.
About an hour after the race, Scott Miller announced he would take questions on behalf of NASCAR regarding the end of the race.
“Poor Scott gonna have to take bullets for someone else. Should be a fun tap dance to watch,” Hamlin responded.
Ryan Blaney comments
“I got this thing in the bag. I’m just riding around thinking, ‘Ok, when’s the caution? What’s going to happen now that we lose the race?, Ryan Blaney stated in the media center after the race.
“I guess the caution came out 300 feet or so before the line.”
“None of us knew that you had to see the checkered flag, I guess. I think we just got locked in our heads that if the leader takes the white flag, the next flag ends the race.”
“I was angry for about 3 seconds when they said the race wasn’t over yet. Then, it switched to ‘Oh shit! My window net’s down and I got another problem I gotta deal with.’ That did kinda take my head away from being upset that the race wasn’t over.”
“I guess that wasn’t the case. But, we all thought it, I thought it. Jonathan got on the radio and said, ‘Congrats!’ So, I got to the backstretch and took the window net down.”
“Josh told me off four that the race isn’t over. That caught all of us off guard. It was kinda short lived panic mode of, ‘how the hell am I going to get this window net back up?’ Because it takes almost two people to do it, outside the car. Let alone me, my scrawny arms inside the car, sitting down.”
“I could get like millimetres away from latching it. And I’d have to give up, my shoulders are going to be junk in the morning. I was able to get it lacked enough, to where it was up. NASCAR deemed it safe.”
“They deemed it safe on the backstretch coming to the green. Because it was up, latched and I had two hands on the wheel.”
“Very odd. But, it worked out and the best car ended up winning the race.”
Ryan Blaney reacts to comments from Denny Hamlin
“I’d be upset too if I was in his position,” Ryan Blaney said of Hamlin’s comments after the race.
“You’re running 2nd and the guy makes a mistake and puts the window net down. You expect it to be handed to ya and the leader get black flagged.”
“I can understand his frustration for sure. Obviously, I’m not going to say I’m frustrated about it. Especially when we had the best car all night. We were leading by 3 seconds before that last caution.”
“I can understand where he’s coming from. That’s just a product of running 2nd, compared to winning. He’d be over the mood if he won the race in my position. And I’d be ticked off just like he was, if I was 2nd.”
Hamlin nearly worked to the outside of Blaney on the final restart. That might have been partially related to Blaney not cleaning his tires with short notice of the restart after he fixed the net.
“I didn’t get through one and two very good. Because my tires weren’t really that cleaned up. I was riding in the middle lane the whole time, trying to get my window net up. It was tough to switch gears. I’ve been able to do that fairly easily. That’s cutting it a little bit too close for my liking, on timing of switching mindsets.”
“I knew if I could get clear off two, I had a good shot at it. It was nice to be able to work it out and drive off into the sunset.”
Blaney has plans for the window net
“This is oddly unique. I’m never going to forget this one. I wouldn’t say it’s as special as my first win but it’s up there. I’m going to have to try and frame that window net and put it over my mantle.”
The window net wasn’t fully in place for NASCAR overtime.
“I felt perfectly safe,” Blaney stated.