Ahead of the first round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, series officials are working to ensure they don’t get a repeat of what happened Saturday at Richmond Raceway, when an ambulance wandered onto pit road.
NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller said the governing body determined that the chaotic scene at Richmond arose because the ambulance driver “didn’t stop when he was told to,” though NASCAR has yet to find out why that was the case, according to Motorsport.com.
Cars were forced to take evasive action when they headed to the pits on Lap 256 of the Federated Auto Parts 400, as an ambulance was parked at the entrance to pit road. Although all drivers were able to avoid the emergency vehicle, some were forced to re-enter the track and others, such as Matt Kenseth, sustained damage by hitting another race car.
“We had a situation where a directive was given from the tower and it wasn’t followed,” Miller said. “We’ll do our due diligence to figure out why the directive wasn’t followed and make sure we’re prepared never to make that mistake again.”
In addition to assessing why the driver ignored orders, Miller claimed NASCAR likely would close pit road if a similar situation were to happen again. Those decisions are made with the input of various officials situated throughout the facility, but Miller said they “didn’t sync up” Saturday.
The debacle obviously posed a serious safety risk, but for Kenseth, it also took his fate out of his hands. The driver of the No. 20 was in position to claim a playoff berth-clinching victory, and would have been knocked out of the playoffs had a new driver won at Richmond.