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NASCAR defends non-call on late restart

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 12, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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NASCAR defended its decision Monday not to penalize Matt Kenseth on the final restart of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.

Team owner Roger Penske was upset that NASCAR didn’t penalize Kenseth on the restart with 18 laps go. Penske’s driver, Joey Logano, started alongside Kenseth on the front row before Kenseth pulled ahead and went on to win the race.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, addressed the restart in his weekly appearance on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Asked if NASCAR was content on making the calls on restarts, O’Donnell said:

“I think for now we’re still content. It is ... a ball-and-strike call. We’ve got the ability to go back and look at video, which we do, and in this case made the call and moved on from it. It’s still one that we want to leave it in the drivers’ hands. If we have to get involved and make those calls with more video, I think we’ll do that, but we’d still like to see it play out the way it does through the final 10.

“It’s one of those areas that any advantage that a team can try to get on a restart, they’re going to try to do that and put a call in our hands, but that’s our job to make the call during the race.’'

Restarts have been an issue since three drivers and a car owner raised questions about NASCAR’s officiating before last month’s Bristol race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after that race that NASCAR needed to do a better job policing restarts.

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