Denny Hamlin laments NASCAR pit road overregulation07/04/2019
Denny Hamlin remains frustrated by the costly uncontrolled tire penalty that he believes prevented him the opportunity to win last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Hamlin won the first stage on Sunday but was hit with a penalty on Lap 105 while on pit road when a tire changer left a tire sitting prone, inside the pit box, but further than an arm-length’s reach. The penalty forced him to restart at the tail-end of the field and contact with Daniel Suarez prevented him from returning to the front of the field.
He finished 15th.
Hamlin doesn’t contend that his team was in violation of the rule as written, but the reigning Daytona 500 winner believes it was an example of unnecessary overregulation in the modern-day NASCAR.
“Rules have to evolve,” Hamlin said. “This is not just about us in particular. I made a (Twitter) comment that’s gotten 3,000 likes, 500 retweets and 300 comments — so it touches the fanbase.
“These are people who aren’t Denny fans and they’re like, “I don’t get it.” If they don’t get it at home, it’s probably not a rule that needs to be in place in the Cup Series.”
That’s true. However a tire sitting in place right next to a changer is not uncontrolled. If it’s a real safety issue then let’s get back the 40 guys we laid off who used to carry these tires in a “controlled” manner https://t.co/iBVt1yeg3W
From Hamlin’s standpoint, it’s difficult for fans to accept a tire as being uncontrolled when it is simply sitting prone next to a car and inside the pit box.
“It’s hard to explain how a tire is uncontrolled when it’s just sitting there,” Hamlin added. “It’s not moving. It is controlled. I don’t know the answer and I don’t know how to fix it. NASCAR is pretty smart and I’m sure they can make adjustments to fix it and make it a little more simple.
“Everyone’s arm is a different length. What is an arm’s length? Do they have some kind of technology that says ‘OK, this distance from the tire changer to the tire is more than an arm’s length” and can they pull a measurement out and measure that? I don’t know, but that’s just too much. Too many rules. Things that can change the outcome of the race.
From NASCAR’s standpoint, the decision to penalize is a visual judgment call.
Hamlin says he has not spoken with NASCAR officials about the decision over the past three days but revealed that penalties are on his team’s agenda for the next industry meeting. He says crew chief Chris Gabehart has found evidence of several pit stops that were more egregious than his when it comes to uncontrolled tires on Sunday.
He would like NASCAR to either better define what constitutes an uncontrolled tire, or call such penalties with more consistency.
“I think an uncontrolled tire is a tire that just goes across pit road and it’s out of control like you’ve seen in years past. Certainly, a tire that is just sitting there in your pit box, stagnant, I’m not sure.”
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