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NASCAR clarifies controversial no-caution call for Wallace spin at Bristol

Why didn
Why didn't NASCAR throw caution for Bubba Wallace at Bristol. Chris Graythen. Getty Images
Modified 02 Apr 2021

NASCAR had a pretty interesting reason for not calling a caution when Bubba Wallace Jr. spun at Bristol

NASCAR has been known for some controversial calls in the past which left their fan base pretty divided. For example, during last year's playoffs, Chase Elliott's crew made a mistake before his final pit stop at Martinsville but were able to reset the stop and avoid a penalty.

This angered a significant portion of the NASCAR fanbase who felt the sanctioning body was showing favoritism to the popular second-generation driver. Fast forward to Monday's dirt race at Bristol, and the series ended up making another controversial call.

It all started late in the third stage of the race when Bubba Wallace Jr. spun after running in the top 10 for most of the day. However, NASCAR decided against throwing the caution, leaving the young driver to make up a lot of lost ground under green flag conditions. It was only when the No. 66 of Mike Marlar spun later in the race that the yellow flag was flown.

After the race, NASCAR's Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell was questioned about this turn of events, and he didn't really provide the most solid of answers and chalked it up to a situational thing that basically left it at the sanctioning body's discretion to do whatever they wanted in this case.

"Yeah, I think throughout the race, there were several times when a driver was able to roll off. If they continue, we are going to continue the race," Steve O'Donnell told the media. "Every call is different. Balls and strikes. But from our perspective, if someone can drive off, we're going to continue to race. If someone stops and we think they intentionally caused the caution, we make that call as well."

While it's nice to see NASCAR not show favoritism in this case for Wallace but it doesn't quite clear up how one spin warrants a call and another doesn't. It also raises the question of whether the sport is hesitant to punish or reward the driver based on what a lot of fans think of him.

Published 02 Apr 2021, 12:42 IST
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