NASCAR reviewing Sonoma pit road incident, Jeff Gordon penalty
NASCAR is examining a pit road incident involving a safety vehicle and Matt DiBenedetto and will review a rule after this season that penalized Jeff Gordon at Sonoma Raceway, a series official told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday morning.
DiBenedetto spun when he tried to turn into his pit stall during Sunday’s race and was clipped by a safety vehicle.
“An unfortunate incident,’’ Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“A lot of traffic on pit road. The vacuum truck and the safety vehicle were coming down. We told them to stay straight and maintain their pace at that point, that the teams were pitting behind them. Matt came across to go ahead and pit and was clipped by the safety vehicle. That’s something we never want to see happen. Obviously, we put a lot of training into every event. I’ve not seen that in my time in NASCAR. We’re reviewing that to make sure that never happens again.’’
DiBenedetto told NASCAR.com: “On that last pit stop, we’d come in and it was a mess to start with with the clean-up truck and everybody in the way, but that truck was going slow enough to where I could go around him. Then, as I was going around him, he sped up. Got on the gas right as when I’m coming around him and cleaned us out.
“I guess he wasn’t just paying attention or didn’t see us - not sure exactly why. I mean, it cost us quite a few spots, but then we drove back as far as we could. … It didn’t really hurt us much other than maybe a spot but definitely pretty funny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”
NASCAR penalized Gordon’s team in Sunday’s race for throwing a spring rubber over the pit wall. That sent him to the back of the line for a restart. Teams are not allowed to toss equipment from the pit stall over the pit wall.
“We made the call with throwing any type of equipment,’’ O’Donnell said. “That’s a call we’ve made this year. That may be something that we review at the end of the year in terms of if that is the right call. It’s difficult to say … what exactly was thrown back over the wall. That’s something we’re going to look at for ’16.’’