Lack of Keselowski caution explained

Although Brad Keselowski hit the wall with four laps to go on Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway, because he kept the car moving, NASCAR didn’t throw the caution flag.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR vice president of officiating and technical inspection, explained the decision during his Tuesday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Keselowski and Cole Custer bounced off the wall after Custer came up the track in Turn 3. He continued with seemingly less damage than Keselowski.

Keselowski wiggled his car back and forth coming off Turn 4, trying to get it back under control. He spent the last few laps limping his damaged RFK Racing Ford around the track and could be seen slow on the backstretch trying to stay out of the way.

“Obviously, we’re monitoring that (and see) the 6 is in the fence,” Sawyer said. “And Brad is listening through his spotter and race control that we needed the 6 to get down on the apron.

“Once he did that, it means he’s kind of out of harm’s way and he’s driving around. If he comes to a complete stop down on the apron at that point, then we’re going to have to go get him.

“But all indications were that after the hit, he got down on the apron, and he’s making his way back to pit road. That was a tough one there because they were having a great run.

“I think they were maybe in the top 10 at that time and a team that needed a good strong finish, and it would have been great to see them get that. Unfortunately, they were involved in that incident.”

The contact between Custer and Keselowski occurred during the race’s final restart with four laps to go. With no caution, Chase Elliott drove away from Kurt Busch for his second win.

NASCAR has been criticized in the past for appearing to be inconsistent with its officiating and what constitutes a caution. Sawyer understands the questions about why there was no caution for Keselowski, but said incidents are decided on a case-by-case basis.

“And we understand when you’re sitting in the stands and your favorite driver [is] looking for a caution or needs a caution for whatever the reason may be, you feel OK, they should throw one,” Sawyer said. “But again, every situation is different. There’s a group in the tower, there’s not just one person as we’ve talked about before. It’s, do we need to throw it? Can you hold it?

“And again, back to that particular case with the 6, yes [he] made contact, but he’s still moving and gets down to the apron, and we can continue on and finish the race.

“If he’s riding the wall all the way down the front straightaway and can’t get to the bottom, comes to a stop or we start seeing debris, then obviously, we’re going to throw the caution.

“It’s not a one size fits all. Obviously, we’re looking at a lot of different things as the race unfolds to be able to make that call.”