what a difference a few weeks make.
In fact, after Richmond, only one Chevrolet had managed to finish in the top ten and Toyota captured their sixth win of the Cup series season. Fast forward to present day however and Chevrolet has finally broken its winless streak this season with Chase Elliott’s win at Talladega.
Beyond that, Talladega marked the first time that Chevrolet took the first three spots at the end of a race this season and also the first time that Chevrolet took up a majority of the top-ten ten this year. If nothign else is was a dream scenario for Chevy and a pivotal moment in the playoff picture.
With that being said, however, it almost didn’t happen if it wasn’t for NASCAR calling for the caution when they did. Not only did the race deciding caution thwart an attempt from the rest of the field to take the win away from Chevy, it also apparently wasn’t even for what fans thought it was for.
While the general consensus amongst fans was that Kyle Larson’s scary tumble down the backstretch, it was actually because of debris from one of the previous wrecks ad a stopped car on the apron. NASCAR claims however that it all happened within a very short margin of time.
According to Steve O’Donnell,” “Our desire for the fans is to always, always finish under green,” O’Donnell said. “You want to let the race play out as much as we can, and that starts almost with (Erik Jones’) 20 car (spinning) going into (Turns) 3 and 4. Do you throw that caution or do you hold off and see if that car is able to roll off? Certainly, if he was stalled out on the apron, that caution comes out, but we saw that he was able to drive off. So, that’s kind of our philosophy in the closing laps.
“When it comes to the 17 hitting the wall and going down to the apron, then what we’re looking at is does he have the ability to fire the car back up and drive off or not and is there anything on the track? We’re going 200 miles per hour, so to quickly look at that takes a few seconds. By the time that happens, cars are out in 1 and 2 … his car doesn’t roll off so we throw the caution. That caution flag was almost the exact time when the (Larson) incident started unfolding on the backstretch as well. […]”
so it wasn’t Kyle Larson’s somersault down the backstretch that brought out the caution, it was a piece of debris and a stopped car on the apron. Unfortunately for fans, however, NASCAR probably would have been forced to throw the caution anyway after Kyle Larson’s car came to a stop.
In the end, safety is and always should be the primary concern when it comes to instances like this, which is why NASCAR did the right thing by throwing the caution when they did. Of course, it wasn’t for the reason everyone thought it was, but it wouldn’t matter in a few mere seconds anyway.