Scott Miller of NASCAR said officials had clearly seen Ryan Blaney with both hands behind the wheel and window net before attempting overtime in the All-Star Race Sunday night.
“(We didn’t have) any way to find out if he was 100% recorded or not,” said Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition. “And at that point in time we can’t be sure he didn’t hook it, so we couldn’t call him into the pit at the time.”
Blaney thought he had won the all-star race in regulation, so he removed the net from the window on his back. But instead he was just feet away from crossing the finish line when caution was demonstrated and special race rules mandated finishing under the green flag.
Despite candlelight attempts, Blaney never showed up to properly fasten the window net. However, he said he is not going to pit to fix the problem and that NASCAR considers it safe on the stretch that goes before the restart.
Miller said officials “would have gone out of character” if Blaney had come down the road to see if the window net was shut.
“There were some assumptions about doing it up there (in the tower), but we saw it and we couldn’t know if it was properly grafted or not,” Miller said.
“If she was hanging on the door, if he couldn’t get her to where she was, and we had some doubt that she was locked up, then we would have to do something with her because we wouldn’t let him start when he was lying on the door ”.
As to whether Blacney would lead NASCAR down Pit Road to secure a window net and allow him to hold the lead, Miller said: “We’ve been thinking about it, but it would be very uncommon to lead someone to Pit Road, and then return them to the place from which they came. “
Miller acknowledged that NASCAR acted “possibly prematurely”, acknowledging the latest precaution after Ricky Stanhouse Jr. hit a wall near turn 2.
“Everyone knows we probably named this yellow flag prematurely,” Miller said. “What works in the tower is that we all watch the racetrack, and obviously the race director who has the button and makes the bell is the last word on when the yellow will go out. We all watched and we saw and mentioned a car near the wall that was immediately driving along the wall behind, and the race director looked up and I’m not sure he saw it, but he immediately put up (yellow flag).
“So I wish we hadn’t done that, but we did, and we recognize that we probably ruled out that precaution prematurely.”