NASCAR official explains penalty on No. 48 team at Talladega

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s Vice President, Officiating and Technical Inspection, appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday morning and explained why the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team was penalized toward the end of Sunday’s Alabama 500.

During the red-flag period, NASCAR ended Johnson’s day when it was deemed that his crew was working on the car while the red flag was displayed. In a post-race interview with NBC, Johnson said he was unclear on why the penalty occurred.

“While we’re under red, no work or service can be done to the vehicles,” Sawyer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “What happens is David Hoots, who is our race director, he will say — as he did yesterday — the cars that are stopped on the back straightaway can fire up the engines. We’re still under red-flag conditions. …

“The team assumed that they could go back to work, but our officials, as you would notice, were on pit road saying, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ Then the red was rescinded and we displayed the yellow, which would have allowed them to go back to work.”

Johnson was scored with a 24th-place finish in the race and is eighth in the playoff standings, seven points above the cut line entering Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway.