NASCAR Cup Race Driver Finish Penalized for Second Week in a Row

What turned out to be a career day for several NASCAR Cup Series drivers turned into a dismal finish for others, like Ross Chastain.

Fans are split on whether or not Indy should be run on its hallowed oval or the current road course.

I spent 11 years going to Indy and I have to say, the racing there on the oval was not all that great and fans were not attending the race. At least in the current road course configuration, fans appear to fill the corner sections where the drama unfolds on track.

And drama is what attracts fans and there was plenty of it on Sunday.

Turn one is the tightest corner and provides absolute mayhem on a restart. I am not sure that is what you want to have on a restart but that is what the track layout currently provides. I think it looks like amateur hour on a Saturday night and the final restart changed the outcome of the race for several drivers. Is that what we really want in our highest level of racing?

Take Ross Chastain for example. Turn one was chaos all race long and the final restart was one of the worst as everyone was jockeying for position. And jockeying is being kind. Chastain saw the madness that was going on and instead of putting his car into the center of all that, he and Austin Dillon took the runoff, which is actually a longer way to get through the turn, and came out ahead of the melee while positioning him to battle Tyler Reddick for the win.

Reddick knew what Chastain had done but had no idea if that was legal or not. The two battled side by side with Chastain throwing his car through the kinks to take the lead over. But Reddick fought back hard and was able to regain the lead as the two battled side by side. It was textbook racing for what NASCAR wants in a road course. Except for the runoff.

While Chastain has the best of intentions to save his car and avoid the wreck fest unfolding in front of him, the chance he took on the runoff was ultimately deemed illegal and he was penalized with a 30 second penalty that placed him 27th.

While clean air was king and the leader often times had a healthy lead, the road course did provide from some exciting racing which is more than you can say about the oval. But I think that Turn 1 needs to be reconfigured before I would grade this as a special racing event worthy of the venue. Track position is so important on a road race you can’t expect the drivers, even the veterans, to play nice heading into Turn 1.

Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 3CHI Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, goes back-to-back in road course triumphs, capturing his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Sunday, July 31, 2022, in the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200, winning the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in Indiana. (Photo by Jim Fluharty/HHP for Chevy Racing)

The corner is dangerous in its own fight as drivers all through the early part of the race were missing corners. The most glaring example of the danger was on lap 57 when Kyle Larson lost his brakes and flew into an unsuspecting Ty Dillon. Larson hit the curb, got airborne and slammed into the side of Dillon’s car sending debris everywhere. Both drivers were OK.

In other news, The Kyle Busch Silly Season continues as rages on as talks continue to keep him in the 18 long term. But as things drag on, Busch is also testing the waters to see where else he might wind up. His personal compensation may take a big hit whether he stays at JGR or moves on. A talent like Busch would really shake up the garage if he were to move on and help elevate another team to contention. Personally, I think a change like that would be incredible for the sport.

If you think Tyler Reddick moving to another team is a big deal, just wait until we hear Rowdy is moving on.

Good on ya, mate
  • Tyler Reddick (P1) is kissing the bricks and may be moving on, but the kid will be winning for RCR for another year.
  • Austin Cindric (P2) came back and was the beneficiary of Turn 1 madness.
  • Harrison Burton (P3) had a banner day thanks to Turn 1 madness.
  • Todd Gilliland (P4) had a career day thanks to…. well, you are getting the picture I paint, right?
  • Bubba Wallace (P5) is finding a way to avoid the madness for a change.
  • Joey Logano (P6) found his way through for a decent finish
  • AJ Allmendinger (P7) should have been battling for the win instead of Ross Chastain. And we are all good to see that AJ is healing after nearly boiling in his car.
  • Michael McDowell (P8) needed this after his big penalty last week.
  • Cole Custer (P9) managed to find his way out of the melee.
  • Chris Buescher (P10) was on fire at one point and still managed a Top 10.
So you had a bad day
  • Aric Almirola (P38) was out early.
  • Kyle Larson (35) and Ty Dillon (P34) were lucky to be unhurt in that wild wreck.
  • Kevin Harvick (P33) continues his slide.
  • William Byron (P31) was actually a strong contender but Turn 1, well, you know.
  • Austin Dillon (P30) followed Ross Chastain’s lead.
  • Daniel Suarez (P28) had an OK race until the end.
  • Ross Chastain (P27) showed his driving chops in spite of the penalty.
  • Ryan Blaney (P26) had a strategy to win but, well, Turn 1 happened.
  • Martin Truex, Jr. (P21) has lost his road course mojo.
  • Chase Elliott (P16) was also on pace for another Top 2 finish until, sigh, Turn 1.
Next up: Michigan

Kevin Harvick has three wins in the last five races at Michigan, the most of any current driver. His last win was the 2020 races here.

Ryan Blaney in the defending race winner and you can be darned sure he is gunning for it again this week.

JGR has a good record here with Martin Truex, Jr. having the best average finish over the last five races followed not too far behind by Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

I’d have to put my money on Blaney this weekend with Martin Truex, Jr. as a real dark horse. Harvick seems like an obvious choice but he hasn’t shown a lot of speed or consistency. And he certainly hasn’t been The Closer.

Leave your thoughts and comments below, and check out my past columns here.

Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up!

 

(Featured Photo by Jim Fluharty/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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