#NASCAR'S EXPLANATION to the media on the restart issues today from VP of Competition Robin Pemberton
QUESTION: Elliott Sadler said to the press that you told him he did not jump the RESTART. Your response to that?
PEMBERTON: “It’s what we told him. That’s correct. He did not jump the restart, but the rules are that he cannot beat the No. 1 starter to the line. That’s what he did. He clearly did that. He had him cleared by the time they got to the start-finish line and made no attempt to give it back. That’s the rules of a restart.
QUESTION: What was their contention (car owner Richard Childress and Elliott Sadler)
PEMBERTON: “Their contention is that they didn’t jump the start and they were being pushed across the line and that it was kind of out of his hands. I understand that argument. That’s not the way the rules go.’’
QUESTION: Why was the START of the race not called that way with the No. 2 starter beating the No. 1 starter to the line?
PEMBERTON: “At the start of the race, the starter displays the green. The starter starts the race. The call on that one was when we displayed the green flag, the leader of the race did not go. In our judgment, in all the replays, the leader absolutely didn’t go. So that’s why there was a no call on that. The flagman starts the race at the beginning of the race. The leader starts the race on restarts in the restart zone.’’
QUESTION: So, the No. 2 starter can beat the No. 1 starter to the line at the START of the race?
PEMBERTON: “From what we saw, the leader didn’t go. We didn’t make a call based on the fact, in our opinion, the leader did not go at the beginning of the race for the green flag, the initial green flag.’’
QUESTION: So Elliott Sadler needed, in his situation on the RESTART, to give the position back?
PEMBERTON: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. He didn’t for whatever reason.’’
QUESTION: This isn’t the first time there’s been gray areas with this, can this still be a judgment call or do you need to be more definitive on this rule?
PEMBERTON: “It’s hard. It’s a difficult call at best. We use every means that we can. We’ve got a lot of video up there. We stand by the call that we make. There’s plenty of people up there in checks and balances to look at these type of situations Moving forward, as the competition continues to close, you never know what will come out of things like this.
QUESTION: If Sadler would have given the lead back, would we be discussing this?
PEMBERTON: “If he would have given the lead back. He cleared him by the start-finish line going into (turn) one.’’
QUESTION: Do you look at if the 22 (Keselowski) spun his tires as a factor of Sadler pulling ahead on the RESTART?
PEMBERTON: “We did look at that. There was some of that that went on, but we didn’t feel like that was what allowed the 2 car to lead by a full car length.’’
QUESTION: Is there a span of time that Sadler would have needed to have given the position back?
PEMBERTON: No. We’re not going to get into that. The drivers know, the spotters know, the crew chiefs know what they need to do and the opportunities that come up to give them a chance to make those corrections.’’
QUESTION: You were hinting earlier about maybe looking at the START/RESTART rule and maybe making changes?
PEMBERTON: “We’re always looking at different things. It’s like the pit road speed. At some point, it had to move on to electronics and more black-and-white. We give areas and plenty of leeway for the teams to make corrections of their own. Sometimes it works in their favor, sometimes it doesn’t.’’
QUESTION: But this isn’t an issue you feel you would need to re-examine in the coming days or weeks or before the end of the season?
PEMBERTON: “No. It’s a rare occasion right now.’’
QUESTION: Please go back over this. On a RESTART, the No. 2 starter can’t beat the No. 1 starter to the line under any circumstances and if they do, they have to give it back.
PEMBERTON: “Under normal circumstances. We’ve had cars breaks transmissions. We’ve had other things happens. We’ve had to make calls on cars that didn’t go because the rear wheels are lifted off the ground by someone behind pushing. Unfortunately, you have to make some of those judgment calls based on what’s in front of you.’’
QUESTION: At the START, once the green flag waves, the No. 2 starter can go if they think the No. 1 starter has not.
PEMBERTON: “That’s correct. That was the call today. It’s the front row’s responsibility to start and restart the races properly. Those two drivers up there, it’s their responsibility to start the race and restart the race throughout the event. They’re the ones that know what is going on between the two. We understand there is gamesmanship that’s being played there. We try to shift through all that the best we can.’’
QUESTION: So this was under the heading of normal circumstances (and why Sadler should have given the position back)
PEMBERTON: “An extreme circumstance is if a guy breaks a transmission or blows and you beat him to the start/finish line.’’
QUESTION: In your opinion you didn’t think that Keselowski was laying back at the RESTART?
PEMBERTON: “I would make a statement that says that most drivers come to the line in different speeds based on their strategies and gamesmanship.’’