Race Weekend Central

The Black Flag Continues to Cause Controversy at Daytona

One of the forgotten flags of NASCAR came back with a vengeance at Speedweeks 2018.

There have now been four times in the last week of racing at Daytona International Speedway where the black flag has waved to deeply hurt a strong contender.

It all started with the Advance Auto Parts Clash. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. attempted a pass on Kyle Busch, who in return forced Stenhouse under the yellow line. Stenhouse completed the pass below the line and was punished by NASCAR with a pass-through penalty.

A bit of a fan uproar followed. Among the critics was the sport’s Most Popular Driver-turned-analyst.

The next two black flags occurred in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 17).

Elliott Sadler was trying to push Chase Elliott to the lead and locked bumpers with the No. 88. NASCAR penalized both cars with a pass-through.

“I guess I’ve got a misunderstanding of the rule so I’m sure they’ll explain it to me,” Sadler said. “I thought you couldn’t lock bumpers to gain a position.”


Sadler and Elliott did not advance their positions while their bumpers were locked.

“You could black flag every single car in the field [for locking bumpers] because out of the 143 laps, 90 laps we were tandem [drafting],” Sadler added. One of his JR Motorsports owners agreed.

Then there was last black flag of this Speedweeks, also doubling as the most controversial. A little later in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race, Ryan Truex got a huge run on Ryan Reed and attempted to go underneath him on the backstretch.

Truex’s move was a little late, though as Reed moved down to block him right at the entrance to Turn 3. Truex took evasive action and nearly spun out on the apron of the turn. Behind him, a wreck ensued.

After the incident, Reed was also hit with a pass-through penalty for blocking.

“[Truex] pulled out, and I went to block him a little bit, but then when he pulled out, I got loose and kind of chased it down the track,” Reed explained. “The passing below the yellow line or forcing below the yellow line, that’s been a hot one this whole Speedweeks.”

But what makes the black flag enforcement more controversial are instances in which it has not been displayed.

In the Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona Friday night (Feb. 16), Johnny Sauter was forced below the yellow line by Justin Haley. Sauter advanced his position and went on to win the race. Neither party was penalized for the incident.

“If it was just me,” Reed said, “then I would say I need a better definition, but there was a lot of guys getting clipped with that this week.”

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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they needed to get the wrinkles out


CONSISTENCY…Oh wait!!!!!!!!! No such word in the NASCAR vocab. Same crap starting right out of the gate regarding the 2018 season. Damn these morons. Truly.

Let us tune now to the great BUBBA WALLACE playing the drums and dropping snarky comments about “veteran drivers” who have actually won races besides one truck race out of too many in other NASCAR series. That is all they got, hyping these “young” whatever’s and not concentrating on racing and consistency of rules! Oh LAWD help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


nothing new here. napcar rules have always been written on a blackboard. selective enforcement to alter the outcome. Yawn
Once again, I was fooled into thinking that maybe… just maybe the powers to be had figured it out. WRONG.

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