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Stewart and Edwards not a bit pleased with officiating, but Johnson takes his penalty in stride, on a curious night in Richmond

Stewart and Edwards not a bit pleased with officiating, but Johnson takes his penalty in stride, on a curious night in Richmond

Kyle Busch smokes 'em in celebration, with post-race fireworks overhead....and some fireworks too back in the NASCAR garage


   By Mike Mulhern

   Well, both Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were not pleased with some of the officiating in Saturday night's Richmond 400, controversial calls that cost each man a very good shot at the win.
   Jimmie Johnson got a hard call that went against him too, taking him also out of the hunt, but Johnson conceded it was a mistake by his pit crew.
   So instead of a three-man battle for the win -- Edwards versus Stewart versus Johnson -- as most of the crowd of some 88,000 at Richmond International Raceway had watched develop, in the final moments it was all Kyle Busch, holding Dale Earnhardt Jr. at bay, to win a Sprint Cup tour event for the first time since last August.
   Edwards went to the NASCAR hauler after the race to discuss the crucial blackflag that went against him. But nothing apparently came of that.
   "We had to just agree to disagree, and that's the way it is," a frustrated Edwards said. "They run the sport, and they do the best job they can, and I drive a race car and do the very best job I can.
    "I'd rather not say what was said in there. This whole thing is very frustrating. I don't feel like we did the wrong thing."
    Johnson's crew misplayed loose tires twice during pit stops, and the second time NASCAR slapped him with a game-ending penalty by ordering him to the rear of the field for a restart. NASCAR ruled the right-rear tire was not in control of a crewmen after the tire change.
   Edwards himself drew the penalty that cost him a shot at the win, when NASCAR ruled he – though he said NASCAR had told him he was in fact the leader at the time – jumped Stewart on a restart. NASCAR blackflagged Edwards, ordering him to pit road for a 'pass through' penalty.  The call against Edwards drew an angry protest to NASCAR by crew chief Bob Osborne.
   Replays showed Edwards hitting the gas for the restart just as he and Stewart approached the white line demarcating the starting point. Stewart, on the inside, was very slow to start.
   Just who the leader was at that point was in some doubt, though not to Stewart.
   Even Busch said it was all confusing to him.
   "The restart and all what was going on -- Tony was the 'lucky dog,' but then they said 'No, he was ahead, because he came off pit road already.' So that made us the lucky dog.  I was like 'Man, that's a lucky break right there.'  That puts us right back in this thing.
    "What was funny is we were the lucky dog, but then there's so many 'wave-arounds' (drivers not pitting and then being given a free pass back to the lead lap) and everything that happened, we restarted right back in our same position, because they had to restart behind us.  
    "I was like 'All right, this is going really good.'
    "Then that was the point in the race I think where Stewart was driving away from him.  Every time I'd pass a lapped car he'd pass a lapped car.  There was always somebody in between us and I was always just a little bit too far behind.
     "And then I had no idea what caused the last caution.  I didn't know what it was.  Glad there was something somewhere."
     Have you got all that clear now?
    Good, because not many people trying to follow all that are even clear now about that confusing mess of 'lucky dogs,' 'wave-arounds,' restarts, scoring and all.
   Regardless, until the last caution Busch said Stewart clearly had him covered: "I was losing half a tenth to a tenth on every lap to Tony," Busch said.
   "He was just so fast.  
   "At that point I kept trying to stay with him there early in that run, to get him the pressure and use up his tires a little bit. And I could see him doing some of that.
   "But then my car just started getting a little bit too tight in the center and a little bit too loose off, where I started losing ground.
    "And once I about couldn't see him anymore, I figured 'Okay, I'm going to save what I've got here and just try to make it to the end.'
    "No catching Stewart without that caution."
    While Stewart was hot about that last caution, and Edwards was hot about his penalty, Johnson accepted his verdict.
    "I think a wheel got away," he said. "Equipment leaving the pit box required us to go to the tail end of the lead lap.  
     "We had a couple of little mistakes like that unfortunately.  
      "We had a really fast race car. We were pretty equal with the leaders. We could have run third; we could have won the race.  A great solid performance.
     "We have been junk here the last two or three times.  To come here and have a great night is very important for us."
    The penalty? "It's frustrating…but if you race long enough you get challenged," Johnson said. "Even when a race is going well, I've learned to not expect for it to continue to go well.
     "We did a decent job to get back to sixth."


Had they BLACK FLAGGED someone else for that RULE

Had they BLACK FLAGGED someone else for that RULE infraction resulting in the 99 getting a WIN , Cousin Carl would be all :)

Usually in the past the MEANINGLESS cautions happen minutes after its announced that the #48 is 2 laps sort on fuel.

Lucky dog, wave around, the chase, eyeball

Lucky dog, wave around, the chase, eyeball inspections, what will be the next move by NASCAR to continue to prove how mismanaged and bush league they are? Debris cautions for hats and water bottles, drivers and owners that can\\\'t complain openly without major fines. Robin Pemberton, Mike Helton, John Darby, and especially Brian France, are past making NASCAR a laughing stock, combined they are running it into the ground. NASCAR should fine itself for being detrimental to the sport. The majority of Friday and Saturday night shows are better run than NASCAR is. Having been in and around NASCAR since the sixties I\\\'ve seen a lot but, things are just so stupid today. Since I can\\\'t be fined I\\\'ll say it plainly, NASCAR management, you suck!

Absolutely unbelievable! Much as I love racing,

Absolutely unbelievable! Much as I love racing, I'm so frustrated at the call by NASCAR officials regarding the restart that robbed Carl of a potential win, I think I'll go back to open-wheel racing. NASCAR officials were at fault - Carl was simply making instant decisions based on incorrect information (#99 was listed at top of the leader board)and it's not like he could email officials and ask for a confirmation. You give a driver false information and what can you expect? They should have called a do-over since the information they were showing to the drivers/fans was incorrect. What if Carl's radio wasn't working? All he had to go on was what was posted on the leader board.

Now I grasp why some folks think NASCAR officials hand-pick the winners ... much like "professional" wrestling. If this was the first race someone ever watched, I'd come away with the same impression.


You would think in this day that NASCAR could invest in binoculars for the spotters so they don't call cautions for PLASTIC.


Usually the broadcasters state the reason for the caution. Maybe I was grabbing a beer at that time but if the reason for the yellow was a plastic water bottle then something smells fishy.

mistakes made

No one is perfect,but in all these years why no caution; they knew a mix up on who was the the leader crews,drivers,crew chiefs. The infield scoreboard read Carl #99 They hear every one, so why no yellow and line up right an restart. Now it looks like nascar should be held a lap or fined on Tuesday or announce they made a mistake and was wrong in the matter it was handled. that door should not even look that way. It was detremental to the sport? Thank You for listening I hope.

Bad Calls

I feel NASCAR messed up the call on Carl, but bad calls occur in every sport, even when the officials are trying to get it right. That call doesn't bother me much, especially since it would have been difficult for Carl to beat Tony, anyway.
However, the caution that stole the win from Tony was inexcusable. If officials in other sports changed their calls to make a boring game interesting, even changing the outcome of the game, that would not be tolerated.
Many NASCAR fans were clamoring for exactly what the NASCAR officials did to make the race interesting. I hope those fans soon abandon NASCAR. If NASCAR can go back to what the hard core fans want, it will be better off. The millions of dollars brought in by the casual, trendy fans will kill NASCAR, especially when the organization is catering to them by undermining the integrity of the sport in many more ways than just this incident.


Carl jumped the re-start, leader or not the leader. The replay clearly showed that he had not yet gotten to the restart "box" before he accelerated. Now, had he actually been the leader, would NASCAR have black flagged him? That is the better question. Carl sounded silly trying to explain that he needed an advantage re-starting from the outside, and saying that's why he jumped the start. Say what?
Stewart has the biggest gripe and I'm glad he voiced it. He got robbed, plain and simple, and I'm not a Stewart fan. NASCAR manipulating the race once again just to try to create a more exciting finish. It's wrong, and I wish the TV folks had the onions to call them on it. Did the safety truck even go pick up the water bottle?
Mike, can you find out more about the rules that Johnson's team violated with the tire? The tire was only loose when the jackman rolled it to the guy behind the wall. I saw other crews doing this same thing, though I'm not sure it was the jackman. Is the rule that the jackman can't roll the tire to the person behind the wall, or that the tire is supposed to be carried to that person. It was very confusing, and it seems that the others doing similar things with the rolling of discarded tires were not penalized.

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