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Confusion leading to the Edwards black flag was inexcusable

By admin | April 30, 2012

 By Richard Allen


With just under 100 laps to go in the Capital City 400 at the Richmond International Raceway, Carl Edwards was black flagged by NASCAR and forced to execute a drive-through penalty which essentially ended any chance he had of winning that race. According to the rule enforcement body of the sport, the #99 car had fired too soon on the late race restart.

And as is so often the case in any sport on such judgment calls, there has since been much debate on the circumstances since the time the penalty was called. In one way or another, an inexcusable error was made which cost Edwards his chance at victory.

Edwards and his team insist that a NASCAR official told their spotter that their car was indeed the leader of the race and that they controlled the restart. As a result, the driver took off when he felt it prudent to do so and got out to a sizeable lead almost immediately. That, in turn, drew attention to the way in which he gained the advantage and ultimately led to the assessment of the penalty.

If a NASCAR official did indeed pass along inaccurate information as to which car was leading the race, that is a mistake that cannot be made. Too much is at stake for these teams for those governing the sport not to know what is going on at such a critical juncture.

However, there are others who might be as much or more at fault for the errors that led to the fateful black flag.

It has to be asked just how a team with a driver, a spotter, a crew chief and multiple other crew members and support personnel does not know whether or not they are leading the race. Granted, with all the wave around and ‘Lucky Dog’ cars driving around, there is the opportunity for confusion. But once everyone was lined up for the restart, shouldn’t it be apparent that their car either had been ahead or behind the car lined up next to them while riding under caution?

It is inexcusable for such a major team as Roush Fenway Racing not to have someone who knew whether they were leading the race without having to ask an official.

And finally, the driver himself bears some of the blame. Television replays showed that even if Edwards had indeed been the leader, he fired before he got to the restart box marked on the track. Of course, the restart box has been treated as somewhat of a suggestion more than a hard and fast rule since racing began. Nonetheless, jumping early at that particular time in the race was not really worth the risk.

Somehow, someone made a critical and costly error leading up to the moment Carl Edwards was brought in to serve a penalty. Whether it was a NASCAR official, the team, the driver or some combination of all, the error could have and should have been avoided and was inexcusable.

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5 Responses to “Confusion leading to the Edwards black flag was inexcusable”

  1. Moe Foe Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 2:20 am

    It really doesn’t matter if Carl was the leader or not…He jumped the start in any case and would have had the same penalty. Tony got snookered because they weren’t at the restart line, he was caught flat-footed and spun his tires in surprise. Carl can moan all he wants, the fact is: Leader or not, he started racing before anybody else got ready.

  2. Charles Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Another thing Richard….Nascars scoreboard …the one the fans see and most teams see..had Edwards as the leader!

    That is what is inexusable!!!!!! Fans need to know who is really the leader to….Nascar should have held caution and gotten it straighten out before the restart…

    Also Tony Stewart would have jumped the restart as well, he was saved only by ’spinning his tires’ …seems he hit the pedal the same time as Carl!

    Here you nitpick Roush for something like this..but seem silent about Nascar selection of John Middlebrook as a ruling authority…

  3. Keith Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 8:48 am

    If Carl jumping the restart cost him the race as some are saying explain how Tony lapped him if he was so fast and better than Tony. The only driver who took the shaft was Tony if indeed the caution was for a plastic water bottle out of the racing groove because he was pulling away from Kyle until that point.
    I’m not saying what happened to Carl was right he did jump the restart but the way Nascar plays the game is what they say at anytime is right you have to listen to what they say and you can’t assume that they are wrong or that will bite you.

  4. Bill B Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I agree with you Rich.

    I also think that had Edwards really been the leader, no penalty would have been assessed by NASCAR on that restart.

  5. Judy Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Would the folks saying Edwards shouldn’t have been black flagged for jumping the restart only because he was leading also use that argument if he had been caught speeding off pit road? Just sayin’ :)