NASCAR might not be dropping any punishments on these guys in the form of penalties but it does seem that they will be having a conversation with them about their actions. So while it might not be a punishment it does seem like it could be a little bit of a scolding.
No good deed goes unpunished or at least that’s how the saying goes. When it comes to NASCAR a recent good deed will go unpunished but it won’t go with a conversation apparently.
Sunday night (or early Monday morning) the Coke Zero 400 ended with one of the most horrific crashes in NASCAR history involving Austin Dillon. After the No. 11 machine of Denny Hamlin made contact with Dillon, his No. 3 machine was launched into the catchfence. The result was Dillon’s car being torn in half and dropped back onto the track upside down.
Once Dillon’s car came to a rest on the track (after being hit by Brad Keselowski) crew members from the No. 13 and No. 88 team rushed onto the track to check on Dillon. Several crew members surrounded the car in an effort to see if the driver was okay inside. After a few moments the crew members gave a thumbs up which sent the stunned Daytona crowd into a frenzy. Shortly there after Dillon emerged from the car and waved to the crowd before being escorted to the infield care center.
During the NBC telecast the announcers made reference to the fact that the crew members were breaking a NASCAR rule by running onto the track as they did. If you noticed the comment you most likely shrugged it off as I did but it seems as though NASCAR is not shrugging it off. On Tuesday NASCAR announced that they would not be penalizing any of the crew members for rushing to Dillon’s No. 3 machine but they would indeed be speaking to all of them. Steve O’Donnell spoke with NASCAR SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday about the issue.
Nobody is going to be penalized.
I think people may be commenting on it because we took some hard cards and the reason for that is we want to have a conversation with those folks. Listen, we all applaud everybody who wants to run to a scene and try to help out. That’s something that I think that is really cool about our industry in terms of people caring about their fellow athletes. We just want to talk about the safety aspect of it.
We’ve got to dispatch our safety equipment – those folks are experts – and to be able to get to Austin as quickly as possible, assess the scene, his belts, what may be going on, do we need to turn the car over, can he be moved from the vehicle or should he stay in. Any second that we can’t do that because the car may be surrounded can be a challenge. That’s just a conversation we want to have.
I guess that I understand where NASCAR is coming from in that there is always the chance that too many people out there could hinder rescue crews from doing their jobs. However, what happened in the Coke Zero 400 was so extreme that in the moment it’s hard to fault those guys for doing what they did.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you did something to stick up for or defend your best friend because you knew it was the right thing to do and yet you still were scolded for it? That is kind of what this entire situation feels like to me. That being said, NASCAR is NASCAR and at the end of the day they are going to do what they do and there isn’t anything that we can do about that. So, with that in mind I commend the crew members who did what they did and I am sure they would do it again if the situation repeated itself.