NASCAR Pleased with Pocono’s Inaugural XFINITY Race

LONG POND, PA. — Despite Mother Nature’s intrusion on the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ inaugural event at Pocono Raceway, series director Wayne Auton was pleased with the race.

The Pocono Green 250 was declared official after 53 of the 100 scheduled laps were completed, and Kyle Larson won after officials decided that track-drying efforts would prove to be impossible.

“It was exciting to be here. I just wish the weather would have stayed away so we could get the whole race in,” Auton told POPULAR SPEED. “There were a lot of fans here to watch our first race and the drivers loved it.”

Auton thought the quality of the competition was as good as it has been all season. There were six lead changes among five drivers, which isn’t bad, considering Pocono is a track with few racing grooves, and that the race ended three laps past halfway.

“We had a lot of passing happening,” Auton said. “The gears were high enough so [drivers] didn’t have to shift, which is something that the Cup cars will have to do tomorrow.”

Auton appreciated the support of Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono Raceway, who supported bringing the series to the track. Before 2013, when Auton was the director of the Camping World Truck Series, he remembers his attempts to persuade Igdalsky to bring XFINITY races to the track.

“I kept aggravating him and asking when he will get us there,” Auton said. “Last winter, he called me and said that we’re coming to Pocono. I was excited because I just love it up here, and the fans are great. It’s an awesome facility.”

Auton said his goal was to delight fans and drivers with a new venue in the schedule. He feels he accomplished the achievement with the help of Igdalsky and it would have been better had it not been for the rain.

“I have heard nothing but praise for what Brandon Igdalsky has done for Pocono,” Auton said. “The fans were great, and the track was great.”


NASCAR Officials Certain They Called Finish Correctly

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Elliott Sadler won Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, but it took NASCAR five minutes to come to that conclusion.

Contact between Sadler and race leader Joey Logano resulted in Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier crossing the finish line separated by inches. However, NASCAR did not call either driver to Victory Lane as they began looking over the video in order to determine the running at the time that caution flag was displayed.

Sadler was declared the winner when replay showed he had maintained his position in front of the side-by-side Poole and Allgaier.

XFINITY Series director Wayne Auton addressed the media afterward to explain how officials made their call. It included using “every means” they could from both inside and outside the track as well as aerial footage.

“Our main goal is to make sure that we got it right. It took us a little time up in the tower. We feel 100 percent we got it exactly right,” Auton said. “We used film. We used eyes, which mine are about wore out watching these cars today. These guys done one exceptional job today with a great race.

“We took our time in the tower. All of you saw (Sadler) and (Poole) come and sit at the start-finish line, which was pretty cool of both drivers just sitting there really calm, they knew that we were checking on it. We used every bit of film we had. Slow down, speed up. Slow down, speed up. We arrived at the finish we did by using every piece of technology that we had to our availability.”

It was Sadler’s first win of the season while JR Motorsports teammate Allgaier was moved to second and Poole third.

As for why NASCAR threw the caution once Logano started to spin instead of letting the leaders race to the finish line, Auton said the answer was easy.

“Our number one job is safety of these drivers, crew members, fans. When you see a car turn hard right, and in the years I’ve been in this business, it’s pretty scary,” he said. “And with all the safety features, we applied the SAFER walls around our tracks now on the exterior, and the safety features inside the car, our number one concern was when (Logano) hit to make sure Joey was OK.

“Automatically, we put out the caution. We felt it was the right time. Another car made contact with (Logano) when he came off the wall, but we needed guys to roll out of the throttle for the safety of all the other drivers who finished the race all the way to the line.”



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