Hendrick’s Ideas On How To Stop Bad Calls

Rick Hendrick vows to not let scoring mistakes happen to his drivers again.
After Saturday night’s faux pas by NASCAR officials during the Busch Series
race at Bristol, drivers, crew members, and Papa Rick himself were all scratching
their heads wondering how to prevent scoring errors from happening again.

Officials said Kyle Busch crossed the commitment line for pit road, and then did
not pit during a caution in Friday night’s Busch Series race and ordered him to
forfeit his second place position. Although his HMS team disagreed with the call,
Busch served the penalty and dropped back to 28th, which cost him a shot at the win.

During Driver meetings on Saturday, before the Sharpie 500, Jeff Gordon wanted to
know what drivers/teams should do if they disagree with a call. Race Director David
Hoots said teams should let NASCAR officials know their thoughts on the matter
and they will radio it in to the scoring tower for review.

Mr. Hendrick had a better idea:

“I’m going to run out on the track and stand on the line until they stop the race and
run over me, or handcuff me and take me away,” he said.

When asked about the situation, Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition,
said “the pit road official initially called the violation. When the team complained,
NASCAR asked the official to reconfirm and the official again said Busch was in

Since there was no immediate video for them to review, due to a feed failure, NASCAR
let the race restart, believing the official’s call to be correct.

And when asked why NASCAR didn’t wait until it had a video replay to resume the
race, Mr. Pemberton replied: “We don’t rule the sport by video, we use it to confirm
different situations,” Pemberton said. “When we can’t find video to review, we rule by
our officials and we had no reason to dispute our own call. The video was available
only a few minutes later. NASCAR then realized the error, but did nothing to correct it.

“We’re human and we’re no different from most other sports. Football has end zone
calls, sideline calls, and baseball has balls and strikes. Pick any sport. Just because
they’ve got a strike zone superimposed on a camera, you can’t regulate your balls and
strikes like that. It’s still an umpire or referee making split-second calls.”

The admitted mistake by NASCAR was little consolation to the 5 team. Crew chief Alan
Gustafson said he wants a camera posted at the commitment line to prevent future mistakes.
Hendrick said that he hopes NASCAR takes steps to ensure it always has video before
issuing a ruling that changes the outcome of an event.