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Analyzing NASCAR’s ruling on Justin Haley pass at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag ahead of Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 ARMOUR Chili Chevrolet, to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Section 10.8.3 of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series rule book states, “NASCAR defines beneath the double-yellow lines as follows: when the vehicle’s left-side tires are beneath the left line of the inside double-yellow lines that separate the apron from the racing surface while passing another vehicle.” At Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, it is against NASCAR rules for a driver to advance his position in the running order by going below the double-yellow line.

That aforementioned rule was at the center of controversy at the end of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona on Friday night. Justin Haley took the checkered flag first, but Kyle Larson was declared the winner after NASCAR officials determined that Haley went below the yellow line to make his last-lap pass for the potential win. In the days since, competitors, fans and motorsports journalists have debated the call.

It’s understandable that Haley would see the call made by NASCAR as a “BS call.” After all, he was the driver who temporarily thought he won but had that potential win taken away by NASCAR’s ruling. Some other stances taken in the last few days, though, I just don’t get.

I’ll start by saying that I think NASCAR made the right call, according to the rule quoted at the beginning of this blog post and video of Haley’s move. That video may be seen here.

Frankly, I don’t get part of Haley’s gripe.

“I just wish NASCAR would be a little more — tell us how much of the car we could have under the yellow line,” Haley said.

NASCAR has done that; see the quote from the rule at the top of this post.

Haley also said, “There’s room for me to go up, so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”

So, if there was room above the line, why go below it? To me, that reasoning is like a basketball player bringing the ball down the floor, not pressed, deciding to just dribble the ball on the sideline for kicks and giggles. For those unfamiliar with basketball, that’s not allowed. A call would be made that the ball went out of bounds.

Then, there are those disputing NASCAR’s call, claiming Haley had already made the pass and was the race leader when he went below the yellow line; therefore, he didn’t advance his position. Nope, I can’t go along with that after watching the video of which I provided a link above.

I’ll use former driver Todd Bodine as an example, a spokesman of sorts, for this group of detractors. On the Tuesday edition of “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Bodine contended that Haley was not passing for the lead, i.e. advancing his position, when he went below the yellow line, because he was already the race leader. Bodine, though, acknowledged that he completed the pass below the yellow line. Isn’t the completion of the pass part of the pass? So, wouldn’t completing a pass be the final part of advancing your position? I think so.

Then, there’s poor Spencer Gallagher. Judging by his series of tweets on the matter, I’m not sure even knows which side he’s on.

“Look you Barney Fife sadsacks can quote the rules at me all night long but here’s a fact: a 19yo kid made an incredible move to win his first race on racing’s biggest stage and got it taken away over 6” of asphalt. If that doesn’t strike you as wrong then check ya head,” read one of Gallagher’s tweets (@23SpeedRacer).

But, then, he tweeted this: “Let me make something clear, I sympathize with @NASCAR and understand they had a call to make, and that theirs was the correct one. What @Justin_Haley_ did last night was amazing and speaks to the talent and drive that kid has. Can’t wait to see the next one he pulls off”

Okay, so according to Gallagher, for Haley to not be the winner after that last-lap pass is “wrong” but NASCAR’s call to not consider Haley the winner was the “right one.”

So, which is it?

Again, I’ll say NASCAR made the right call and leave it at that. 

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Posted by on July 10, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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