Ross Chastain’s reboot detour should lead to a change next year

INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Reddick wasn’t sure if he was fighting for the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway or being harassed by a car for a penalty.

Fifth-placed Ross Chastain had missed Turn 1 on the overtime restart and sped the escape route. He returned to the track alongside Reddick, who was leading.

Reddick and Chastain then traded heads, but Reddick was still unsure if he was chasing Chastain for the win.

Reddick said his spotter told him he thought Chastain would be penalized, but NASCAR had yet to say anything.

“He’s going to be penalized isn’t good enough,” Reddick said. “I didn’t know for sure if he was or not.”

Reddick feared that if Chastain was penalized and they continued to fight, it would allow Austin Cindric to shut down and challenge Reddick for the win. If Reddick knew Chastain was under a penalty, he would let him go.

Reddick continued to win, and NASCAR penalized Chastain (and Austin Dillon) for gaining positions via the escape route. Chastain and Dillon received 30-second penalties. This moved Chastain from second to 27th place. Dillon is credited with 30th place, the last car in the lead lap.

There is a bigger problem with this situation, however.

Accelerating on the escape route could save a car time. An executive from another team told NBC Sports the team was aware of the potential upside.

The solution should be simple.

Place cones in the escape route that force a driver to slow down and weave around them. It will really make it a disadvantage to go through this.

That’s what the NTT IndyCar Series is doing on street courses and should be something for next year’s Indy Road Race – and any other road event, including Chicago Street Racing, will. there is a place where a car could veer off course and save time on the field.

NASCAR was lucky this time that Chastain didn’t spin Reddick and spin. This would have marked the second year in a row that a penalized car has spun the leader.

Last year, Chase Briscoe cut the grass at Turn 1 and gained positions, which is a penalty. Seconds after NASCAR announced the penalty to Briscoe – but before the driver was warned – Briscoe spun Hamlin on that lap. Briscoe then had to serve a stop-and-go penalty for missing Turn 1, which allowed AJ Allmendinger to win.

On Sunday, Chastain was on the outside with three cars on the inside on the final restart as the peloton entered Turn 1, a sharp right-hand curve of the front stretch.

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

“I turned around and realized there was no way we were going to make it. I just decided to step aside and take the access road.

Sitting next to Reddick to take the lead, Chastain said: “From what I understand, if you cut (the corner) and you don’t take the slip road and you don’t come out, don’t not gain ground. I took the access road. If I misunderstood the rule… I hadn’t thought of it before turn 1. I realized there’s no way we’re going to do turn 1, I can’t get in, I’ll to be in the grass.

Said Reddick of Chastain’s maneuver: “I didn’t look at Ross’s (data), but it looked like he had pretty much decided that was the route he was going to take. NASCAR’s decision is if they don’t get a huge advantage or whatever the term is, that’s okay, and he obviously got too much of an advantage and it cost him a really strong top 10 finish .

“It’s kind of open to discussion, open to interpretation, isn’t it, so hopefully moving forward, especially when we come back here with this lead and how this chicanery or the cut is designed we can get to where it’s a little bit slower to where no matter if it’s hit it absolutely perfect it costs you at least two, three, four seconds until this situation does not happen again.

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