Did Edwards benefit from no-call on final restart?

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All the post-race buzz after last night’s Chase decider at Richmond International Raceway was centered on Clint Bowyer’s possibly intentional spin with seven laps to go. But the final restart of the race with three laps left also raised some eyebrows as well.

Prior to the green, the leaders had pitted under caution with Paul Menard coming out with the lead after taking two tires and Carl Edwards moving to second after taking four tires.

But when the race restarted, Edwards wound up beating the leader Menard to the start/finish line. NASCAR opted not to penalize Edwards, who went on to win his second race of the year.

Afterwards, Edwards contended that Menard had spun his tires on the restart.

“At that point, I mean, I really have a choice to either lift off the throttle and wait for him to try to gather it up,” Edwards said. “I’ve never seen a guy able to gather up too quickly when they spin that bad, or go and hope NASCAR understands that he spun his tires.

“In this case, they did. They understand he came up and hit me and spun his tires. The guy in second place in that circumstance is in a tough position.

“If I had lifted and waited, I think the whole field would have run over us. You just can’t. If he had four tires, it probably would have been different.”

Menard didn’t mention the restart in his post-race comments from Richard Childress Racing, instead touching on how the call to take just right-side tires simply didn’t work out.

“We tried strategy in hopes of bringing home a win, but two tires couldn’t hold off the guys with four,” he said in the RCR statement.

However, that didn’t stop Menard’s crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, from venting on Twitter about the situation:

An interesting note: The #ballsandstrikes hashtag is an apparent reference to comments made by NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton during last night’s pre-race driver meeting.

“As many of you may have some questions on restarts tonight, I would remind you there are a few things we still have to have a judgment call on, OK?,” he said according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “There are balls and there are strikes. Sometimes you don’t like the call; sometimes, we don’t even like the call we have to make.”

In Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at RIR, the final restart saw Brad Keselowski appear to move ahead of Brian Scott before the two crossed the acceleration box. NASCAR did not penalize Keselowski in that situation either, and he went on to win.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.