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Devil’s Advocate: Should NASCAR Have Thrown the Caution for Ryan Preece’s Spin?

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Joshua Lipowski

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At the end of the race at Pocono on Sunday, Ryan Preece spun out of turn two. NASCAR waited to throw the caution until after the white flag was displayed as they waited for Preece to restart his engine. The engine was not re-fired, and the race ended under caution.

Was this the right call, or should NASCAR have done things differently? Let’s analyze both sides of the situation to see what NASCAR could have or should have done.

NASCAR Was Right

Just because NASCAR could throw a caution does not necessarily mean that they should throw a caution. Ryan Preece spun near the back of the field, and he posed no immediate threat to the field. Sure, the timing was not ideal given that the field was coming around for the final lap of the race, but, that’s just how it goes sometimes.

Imagine if NASCAR elected to throw the caution? If NASCAR elected to throw the caution flag, then another restart may have ensued, and another cautions breed cautions situation would have emerged. Those situations are often met with frustration from the fanbase.

Denny Hamlin took the lead on the restart, and he was holding on to it pretty handily. It would be a tough pill for him to swallow if his great restart was done in by a crash at the back of the pack.

It was the most fair way to end the race given the rules. In an ideal world, caution flags should be thrown for a danger on the race track, not for entertainment purposes. Preece did not pose an immediate danger when he was on the backstretch with the field on the other side of the track.

When NASCAR threw the caution was when the field was about to get to him, which obviously was when he posed a danger to the field. NASCAR made the correct call in this scenario.

NASCAR Was Wrong

Sure, it was only a single car spin, but NASCAR has thrown cautions for that before. They threw a caution early in the race for Austin Dillon spinning out all by himself near the back of the field. If they chose to throw a caution there, the caution should have been thrown for Ryan Preece.

It also is a bummer to see a race end under caution. Races should end, if at all possible, under a green flag condition. There are legitimate reasons to end races under caution, but this was because NASCAR chose to wait.

Rather than do what they did earlier in the race, NASCAR chose to wait and throw the caution later. Preece was obviously not going to get his car going, and NASCAR had plenty of time to make that decision before the white flag lap.

Throwing the caution was totally understandable and justified because of the danger that was posed to both Preece and other competitors. However, NASCAR should have acted earlier.

It would allow for the race to conclude under green instead of under caution, and it could have made for an exciting finish. Instead, the race ended under caution because of a delayed call.

Conclusion

It is understandable for NASCAR to be scrutinized for this decision as it could have gone either way. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR has to say, if anything at all about the decision to throw the caution when they did.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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