NASCAR explains ambulance incident, calls it a "mistake"

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller met with reporters after the regular season finale at Richmond Raceway to explain how an ambulance ended up at pit entry while cars were entering pit road.

NASCAR explains ambulance incident, calls it a "mistake"
4-wide salute Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, A.J. Allmendinger, JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit stop
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit stop
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

After a caution on Lap 256 of 400 for a spin by Danica Patrick, the field hurried down pit road for another set of pit stops. 

Miller explained that the driver of an ambulance was instructed to stop, but "he didn't stop when he was told to." The result was chaos at pit entry.

Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth was one of the favorites for the race win, but that all ended when he slammed into the back of Clint Bowyer and damaged the radiator of his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The field was forced to check-up and some swerved back onto the track to avoid an errant ambulance that was someplace it shouldn't have been.

"We had a situation where a directive was given from the tower and it wasn’t followed," said Miller. "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 hindsight, Miller agreed that the best course of action would have been to close pit road while they cleared up the situation. “We probably should (have closed pit road). Those calls are very dynamic in that they happen very, very quickly. It’s the race director in charge of pit road open and close and the track services and safety crew in charge of the other. We didn’t sync up tonight. We will make sure that we don’t let that happen again.”

Although NASCAR waved all commitment line violations incurred during the fiasco, that didn't help Kenseth, who fell out of the race and finished 38th.

In order to avoid a similar problem in the future, Miller said that NASCAR will bring all the people involved into a room together to look at what transpired and discuss how to not let it happen again in the future. “It’s very tight at pit-in and as I said, we will analyze the situation and do a better job.

"We obviously have a lot of people in the tower watching a lot of different things. All of it is based on race directives from the tower, radio communications to the people that are out on the race track and when those directives aren’t followed, we end up in a situation like tonight. As I’ve said, dissect it and figure out how not to make the mistake again."

Regular season champion Martin Truex Jr. called the incident "inexcusable" at this level of motorsport.

Watch Miller talk about it Saturday night: 

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