Kyle Busch was black-flagged by NASCAR on lap 345 of the 400-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on April 3 for tape on the grill of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota — a no-no since the introduction of the Next Gen race car this season. The team allegedly meant to place the tape over a brake duct, permissible under NASCAR rules, but missed by about four inches.
When the penalty was assessed, the gripe from Busch and his team wasn’t that they were penalized. Instead, they complained about the penalty coming late. You see, the tape was applied two pit stops prior to the lap-351 stop to remedy the miscue.
If anything, I would think NASCAR did the No. 18 team a favor of which it didn’t take advantage. Sure, the late penalty gave Busch less time to recover. He still managed a top-10 finish, by the way; he finished ninth.
Why do I say NASCAR did the No. 18 bunch a favor? What about that pit stop between the tape miscue and the black flag? Wouldn’t that have been an opportunity to correct the mistake before a penalty was assessed? Are we to believe nobody on the team was aware of the tape-placement mistake before being called out by NASCAR?
Okay, I agree that NASCAR should’ve black-flagged the team sooner, but not to give Busch more time to recover. I still don’t get Busch and his team’s gripe, though. NASCAR’s delay gave them the perfect opportunity to correct the mistake without penalty. It’s not the sanctioning body’s fault the team didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.
Maybe I’m missing something, here.
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