NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller gave additional context to a no-penalty call for Texas runner-up Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 pit crew during Monday’s “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Harvick’s team was not issued a penalty for an uncontrolled tire on a late-race pit stop, a penalty that remains a judgment call.
“There’s a lot of things on pit road that absolutely 100 percent indisputable,” Miller said. “ … One of the things that’s left – one of the few things that’s left – for the human to make the call on is the uncontrolled tire because there’s so many moving parts to a pit stop, we can’t automate that process. So, there’s judgment in those calls with the uncontrolled tire. And our guys’ judgment; the tires that were called got away from the guy further than these did.
“In retrospect, looking at it, I think that certainly the penalty could have been called because it has to be in arm’s reach of a guy as he’s trying to control that tire, and it’s debatable whether or not this one got more than arm’s reach away.”
When Harvick pitted late during Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, one of the tires escaped the grasp of a No. 4 pit crew member during the stop. No penalty was issued. A similar situation occurred earlier in the race with Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 crew, drawing a penalty.
NASCAR conducted a post-race review of the No. 4 call and determined that a penalty should have been issued during that instance.
“It was a judgment call, and after conducting a post-race review of the incident an uncontrolled tire penalty for the 4 car would have been correct,” Miller said in a Sunday night statement. “We missed that call.”
But Miller noted, the opportunity for review is not available for every stop.
“The other thing speculating is that every pit stop gets reviewed or things like that,” Miller said. “Well, that’s actually not how it works. When there isn’t a call made from the pro trailer, there’s no review that gets triggered by anyone. And there’s enough penalties on pit road where not every single one can be reviewed. So, we have to rely on our staff in the Pro Trailer to make those calls.
“One of the things that’s great about our sport is our ‘game’ doesn’t stop like it does in other sports when they stand there and look at the review. So, we have a race that’s continuing to run as we’re looking at these penalties and reviewing them and most of that is to learn because five or 10 minutes after the penalty happens is not the time to be calling the penalty.
“So, we use the review process to not only check on calls but to get better and to have things to talk about in our meeting of ‘Hey, this could have gone this way’ or ‘This could have gone that way’ with our people so that we can have constant improvement in our process.”