Ross Chastain’s turn again should lead to the change next year

INDIANAPOLIS – Tyler Riddick didn’t know if he was dueling for victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or being harassed by a car under penalty.

Ross Chastain, who is fifth, missed Turn 1 at the start of overtime and set off on the escape route. He returned to the track next to Riddick, who was driving.

Then Riddick and Chastain switched the lead, but Riddick still didn’t know if he was racing Chastain for the win.

Riddick said his controller told him he thought Chastain would be punished but NASCAR hasn’t said anything yet.

He’s not going to be punished enough, said Riddick. “I didn’t know for sure if it was or not.”

Reddick worried that if Chastain was punished and they continued to fight, it would allow Austin Cendrick to shut down and challenge Reddick to victory. If Riddick knew Chastain was under penalty, he let him go.

Riddick went on to win and NASCAR punished Chastain (and Austin Dillon) for gaining spots via the escape route. Chastain and Dillon were each evaluated on penalties for 30 seconds. This dropped Chastain from second to 27th. Dillon took 30th, the last car on the first lap.

However, there is a bigger problem with this situation.

Accelerating through the escape route can allow the vehicle to gain time. An executive from a different team told NBC Sports that the team was aware of the potential advantage.

The solution should be simple.

Place cones in the escape route, forcing the driver to slow down and weave around them. That would really make it a shame to go there.

That’s what the NTT IndyCar series does on street courses and it should be something for next year’s Indy road track race—and any other event on the road, including the Chicago street race, if there’s a place a car can derail and gain field time.

NASCAR was lucky this time because Chastain didn’t turn into Reddick and spin. It marked the second year in a row that the Boss Punishment Car was spinning.

Last year, Chase Briscoe cut the Turn 1 lawn and earned spots, which is a penalty. Seconds after NASCAR announced a penalty for Briscoe – but before the driver was notified – Briscoe turned Hamlin on that lap. Briscoe then had to send a stop-and-go penalty to miss Turn 1, and this allowed AJ Allmendinger to win.

On Sunday, Chastain was out with three cars inside during the last restart as he entered the field for Turn 1, a sharp bend on the right side of the front extension.

“I couldn’t go any further on the right,” Chastain said.

“I was safer and realized there was no way to make it happen. I just decided to get out of the way and take the access lane.”

Finding himself next to Riddick in the lead, Chastain said, “The way I understand it is if you cut (the turn) and you don’t take the access lane and you come up again, you don’t gain any ground. You take the access lane. If you misunderstand the rule… I didn’t think about it before the turn.” I. I realized there’s no way we’re going to turn 1, I can’t go back, I’ll be in the grass.”

Riddick said of Chastain’s maneuver: “I haven’t looked at (the data) Ross, but it seems he’s pretty much decided that’s the way he’s going. The judgment from NASCAR is that if they don’t gain much advantage or whatever term that might be acceptable Obviously, he got a lot of advantages and cost him a really solid finish inside the top ten.

“It’s kind of open to discussion, open to interpretation, right, so hopefully going forward, especially when we come back here with this path and how this path or cross-section is designed, we can get to where it’s a little bit slower to where regardless of whether it works out.” Getting to it absolutely perfectly, it costs you at least two, three, four seconds to where that situation never happens again.”

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