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NASCAR defends call to let Fontana finish 'play out'

Kyle Busch

RELATED: Full race results | Series standings

FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Busch thought NASCAR should have thrown the caution flag.
Austin Dillon called it a "great decision."
And NASCAR officials said they saw no reason to throw the yellow on the final lap of Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen at Auto Club Speedway.
Busch, winner of three consecutive races in the XFINITY Series entering Saturday, had led 133 of 150 laps when he took the white flag, nursing his fuel and a one-plus second lead over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez.
But the left-front tire on his No. 18 Toyota let go as Busch took the white flag and headed off into Turn 1, damaging the fender and hood and scattering debris on the track.
Busch continued to race on, trying to hold his lead. Suarez eventually ran out of fuel and Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) overtook both to capture the victory.
"Debris all over the race track and they don't throw a yellow," Busch said on his radio. "I'm just so pleased with you NASCAR. Thanks. Y'all are awesome."
RELATED: Busch frustrated by losing on last lap

Because Busch had taken the white flag at the start/finish line, if NASCAR had thrown the caution flag, the field would have been frozen at that point.
According to the rulebook, under such circumstances each vehicle is required to complete the lap without assistance while maintaining a reasonable speed based on track conditions. Vehicles aren't permitted to pass and must maintain their position; reasonable speed and track conditions are a NASCAR judgment determination.
NASCAR officials said they saw no reason to throw the caution at that point, and that Busch was continuing to race; they saw nothing that posed a safety risk to others. It was their decision, an official said, to "let it play out."
Danny Stockman Jr., No. 3 team's crew chief, said he and his race engineer had discussed the situation as it unfolded, "but we came to the white (flag) right there.
"I guess we wouldn't have won the race, right?" Stockman said. "He (Busch) would have won it if they had thrown the white right then."
Dillon said it was "plenty good out there; I didn't see any debris. I didn't see any out there."

RELATED: Dillon discusses frantic finish
Busch, incredibly, finished second. It was the third time he had entered an XFINITY Series race riding a three-race win streak only to see the streak broken.
Darrell Wallace Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), Suarez and Elliott Sadler (JR Motorsports) completed the top five.

RELATED: Wallace Jr. fails post-race inspection | Suarez sees victory slip by

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