Did Chase Briscoe win Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway? Or did NASCAR make the right call in awarding Christopher Bell the victory?
The two drivers were side-by-side as NASCAR threw a caution flag for a nasty wreck involving Timothy Peters in the late stages of Friday night’s race. By NASCAR rules, the winner of the race is determined at the moment of caution when a caution comes out on the last lap of the race. Which truck do you think is ahead when the lights illuminate.
Is it Briscoe’s No. 29 or Bell’s No. 4?
Peters flipped while the field was still on the next-to-last lap. But by the time NASCAR flipped the caution lights to officially declare a caution, Bell and Briscoe were on the last lap. This is important. Anytime outside of the last lap the last scoring loop before the caution is used to determine the race’s restart order. But on the last lap, the time of caution is used to determine the order.
It’s clearly spelled out in the rule book as such.
“If the caution lights are illuminated and/or yellow flag is displayed during the white flag lap, vehicles will be scored based on their respective track position.”
But the lights at Texas that are seen in the GIF above apparently aren’t official. NASCAR stood by its scoring decision declaring Bell the winner in a tweet from NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell.
Exact time of caution-4 is in front. Very close. Tv did not show correct shot prior to going off the air-This is how call was determined pic.twitter.com/8lOID7ttif
— Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) June 10, 2017
It’s a convenient excuse for O’Donnell to blame Fox Sports’ broadcast of the truck race for the confusion. But it’s also weak. NASCAR quickly sent Bell to victory lane after the race, confident it made the right decision on the winner. And the NASCAR control tower booth is not far from the television booth at all tracks. A NASCAR executive and/or spokesperson should have been explaining to Fox and viewers at home why Bell was declared the winner. Especially if there was definitive proof.
That didn’t happen. And viewers who didn’t have Twitter were left with the replay above and the belief that NASCAR made the wrong call. A NASCAR executive taking to Twitter to explain a scoring decision is great … for people on Twitter. For the majority of Americans who aren’t on Twitter, the social media explanation does no good.
And, if you’re really conspiracy-minded, it’s worth pointing out that you can argue O’Donnell’s photo proves absolutely nothing. Sure, it has a timestamp, but there’s no clear identifier in the screenshot that a caution had been called at that exact moment. It’s simply a photo from NASCAR asking fans to take the sanctioning body at its word. And if you’ve ever met a NASCAR fan, you know that he or she doesn’t take NASCAR at its word very often.
But if you look closely in the background of Peters’ flip, you’ll notice the official NASCAR caution light illuminates ever so faster than the vertical lights on the fence do. While we don’t have any photo or video evidence of where the leaders were when the official lights first turn on, it’s reasonable to assume Bell is still ahead of Briscoe at the time.
Brad Keselowski, the owner of Briscoe’s truck, said he saw photo evidence from NASCAR after he was initially unhappy with the sanctioning body’s determination. Keselowski is in Pocono for the Cup Series race on Sunday, so he was reliant on Fox and NASCAR’s lack of an explanation.
Simply put. The track rope lighting that was visible on tv replay is not synced with the other lights/systems and can't be used accurately.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) June 10, 2017
Peters was unhurt in the flip and checked and released from the infield care center. The win is Bell’s second of the season.
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