Chase Elliott was bit by one of the oldest penalties on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rule book on Sunday at ISM Raceway.
The 23-year-old was deemed to have beat pole-sitter Ryan Blaney to start-finish line at the start of the TicketGuardian 500, a long-standing policy.
The rules, Section 10.5.5.c, are very clear:
"At the initial start of the Race, the number two starting position must not beat the number one starting position to the start/finish line."
"Once the green flag has been displayed on a start or restart, all vehicles must maintain their respective track position/lane established by the front row above the apron as designated by NASCAR until they have crossed the start/finish line."
Elliott’s point of contention that Blaney appeared to spin his tires on throttle, leaving Elliott no choice but to get to the line first.
But on Sirius XM NASCAR, NASCAR chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said this isn't a subjective call.
"It’s a black-and-white call in letting the leader who has earned the pole to be the first to cross the start/finish line," O'Donnell said.
And he doesn't want to get in the business of penalizing spinning tires on starts.
"We have tried to get out of making those calls,” O’Donnell. "We were in those calls before, who spun their tires, when they spun the tires and what happened and elected to just make it a black-and-white rule. Never a call you want to make, but in this case, by the look on the track and the timing loop, one we had to make."
Elliott ended-up with a 14th-place finish during an afternoon where passing was at a premium due to the new high downforce rules package.
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