It didn’t take long for NASCAR’s restart issue to resurface.
One week after drivers were warned that restarts would be monitored more closely, driver Brad Keselowski received a costly penalty on a restart during Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Keselowski received a pass-through penalty on Lap 248 for going too early in the restart zone before leader Greg Biffle had made the first move.
“It’s a pretty basic understanding,” said Keselowski, who would eventually finish 12th. “It’s an entertainment sport, not a fair sport. I got the chance to do something again for the first time: the first person to ever be penalized for jumping a restart when I didn’t pass anyone, so that’s a new one.”
After drivers complained that NASCAR was being inconsistent in monitoring restarts, the sanctioning body announced last week at Chicagoland Speedway that a dedicated camera and a race official would be focused on the restart zone.
“This is your warning,” Cup managing director Richard Buck during the drivers’ meeting at Chicagoland.
Sunday, Keselowski was the first driver caught in the act by the new technology, although he didn’t pass Biffle, who appeared to slow in the restart box before the green flag was waved.
“We looked at all the data available to us, all the video, we have the senior official on the ground,” Buck told reporters after the race. “We made sure the rules are very clear to everybody, especially in the last couple drivers meetings, to be sure we had everybody informed.
“It was very clear-cut in our mind based on the video we had, the different angles that we had. By having the individual on the ground directly across from the restart box, they can really get a good understanding and allow us to feel 100 percent that we stamped it with a very good decision.”
Buck added that the second-place car doesn’t have to pass the leader to jump the restart.
Keselowski, who remains in solid position in the Chase standings (eighth), was asked if he feels NASCAR made an example of him.
“Yeah,” he replied.