DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Here we go again. NASCAR fans are sparking an outrage over how the ending of Friday night’s Coca Cola Firecracker 250 wound up. Justin Haley got a great push from Christopher Bell off the final corner of the final lap of Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Daytona International Speedway.
The two leaders battling for the win (Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler) moved off the bottom yellow line and towards the outside wall in trying to side draft one another. That allowed Haley to get a huge run and look to the inside of both. The 19 year old who was making just his second ever XFINITY Series start had such a big run, he was able to shoot to the inside of both and complete the pass all while traveling into the tri-oval.
Haley, crossed the finish line first. It was the upset win that fans were salivating over. But, replay then showed that maybe Haley’s pass wasn’t so legal after all. NASCAR determined that Haley put his No. 24 Chevrolet below the yellow out of bounds line while making the pass which is a known no-no.
See, the problem lies is that Haley didn’t have to go below the yellow line to make the pass. Larson and Sadler gave him more than enough room. But, his momentum took him down there and he then questioned why he was penalized in the first place.
But, the rule book states that you can’t go below the yellow line at all to make a successful pass. The only way you can is if you were forced down there. Haley wasn’t. So, despite not harming anyone or anything by being down there, the rule book got it right therefore NASCAR did too.
Don’t call for major changes and how this is confusing for the sport. It’s not. It’s black and white. This was an easy call to officiate. We need out of bounds rules on restrictor plate tracks. It’s all for safety. Give a driver an inch of paved real estate and they’re going to take it. We’ve seen this happen in the past when there wasn’t a so called out of bounds. Drivers wouldn’t let the other drivers back on the racing surface and that forced the driver below the line to force his way back up. That caused some big crashes.
So, don’t let anyone go down there was the result.
Now, someone goes down there and fans want to blame NASCAR. Would you cry like this if a football game ruled a received was out of bounds when he caught a game winning hail mary? What about if a basketball player clearly stepped out of bounds before shooting a game winning three?
Why cry here?
NASCAR got this right.