NASCAR Official clarifies controversial end to Coca-Cola 600 - "Not the decision we wanted to make"

NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600
NASCAR official on calling off the Coca-Cola 600 without completion (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

NASCAR official Elton Sawyer talked about the decision to end the Coca-Cola 600 early because of the worsening weather conditions. He revealed that this was not the decision the authorities wanted to make but were left with no choice.

The Coca-Cola 600 came to an early end after the weather ruined the track for racing. A thunderstorm was predicted earlier and it was expected to hit around 8 - 9 PM ET. The first drops hit the track at around 9:30 PM when the race was on lap 245. However, the worsening conditions called for a stop with a little over 150 laps remaining in the 400-lap tournament.

Efforts were made to dry the track out but the increased humidity because of the rain made it extremely difficult for the crew to work on that. Finally, a decision was made to call the race off. Elton Sawyer, the VP of competition of NASCAR, explained that the decision was based on multiple factors. He told SiriusXM Radio:

"It’s NASCAR’s decision. We do work closely with the folks at the Speedway and work closely with our TV partners to get to the right decision. If you look at how the day unfolds, there are a lot of workers behind the scenes there early in the morning to get the facility ready. There’s local law enforcement officers there to direct traffic and things of that nature."

He stated that running the race any further would have resulted in past-midnight action, ranging anywhere between 1 am and 3 am, including the caution flags. Considering these factors, NASCAR called the race off without any further action.

"But you start to dig into the timeline, and again, start to get to that 1:30-2:00 range for when you get to the checkered flag and these are all based on having a clean race to the end, so if you have multiple caution flags, now you’re looking at 3 a.m. So you have to take that into consideration."
"It’s not the decision we wanted to make but the one we had to make at that point in time."

A 'disappointed' Kyle Larson hoping for another shot at Indy500 after NASCAR-Indy double fails to work owing to the weather

Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson hoped to pull in a double during the race weekend at Charlotte. The race was on the same day as the Indianapolis 500, and he spent months preparing for the latter as it was set to be his debut Indy500 race. The original plan was for him to run the race at Indianapolis and then rush back to Charlotte for his Cup Series race. However, the weather turned things around.

A thunderstorm at Indianapolis delayed the race by four hours. The race that was expected to start at 12:45 PM ET did not get a green flag until 4:44 PM. After finishing at 18th place in the race, he rushed back to Charlotte to race in the remaining race. To his disappointment, the weather took its toll and the race was not restarted. After the weekend, he shared a post on social media expressing his disappointment.

Larson would appreciate another chance at the Indy500. This year, it was Josef Newgarden who took himself to victory lane at the event, and Christopher Bell was declared the winner at Charlotte by NASCAR after the rest of the race was canceled.

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