NASCAR executive details jumped start penalty in Truck Series semifinal



NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

November 11, 2019 11:35 AM

NASCAR executive details jumped start penalty in Truck Series semifinal

Stewart Friesen beat Austin Hill to the line—but only due to a sloppy start.

Matt Weaver



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Stewart Friesen was penalized for jumping the start after beating a sideways Austin Hill to the start/finish line.

All is well that ends well for Stewart Friesen, but the start of Friday night’s penultimate NASCAR Truck Series race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix could have proven costly to both his race and championship ambitions.
Friesen captured his second career victory, and first on a pavement track, but had to recover from a first-lap penalty for jumping the initial start on pole sitter Austin Hill.
It was a sloppy start, with Hill appearing to spin his tires and getting hit from behind, allowing Friesen to cross the start/finish line first. NASCAR rules mandate that the pole sitter must cross the line first. This is different from restarts, in which the leader has to fire off first, but can be beat to the start/finish line.
Fortunately for Friesen, he caught a caution after being shown the black flag, which allowed him to remain on the lead lap and restart the race from the rear of the field. He methodically drove his way back to the front, winning the race and punching his ticket into the Truck Series championship race next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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“Dick Berggren once asked me, ‘Have you ever been screwed?’ and I said, ‘yes,'” Friesen said after his victory. “He then asked me, ‘Have you ever been unscrewed?’ And I said, ‘no.’ That’s how racing goes. I filed it away. You can scream and holler all day. They’re not going to reverse it.”
His crew chief, Trip Bruce, did most of the shouting.
“I was mad, and I never get mad,” Bruce said. “I just knew we had a winning truck, and I felt like we were getting the short end of the stick.”

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Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, addressed the topic on Monday morning during his weekly radio segment on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“At the beginning of the race the leader earns that right with the pole and has to be the car to cross the start/finish line first,” O’Donnell said. “In this case, we can’t make judgments on what may or may not happen to the pole sitter. When Stewart’s truck beat the pole sitter to the line, that’s an automatic penalty for us.”
O’Donnell also detailed how the initial start is different from restarts.
“When we have a restart, the rule is the leader at that time earns the ability to restart the race and get on the gas so to speak first,” O’Donnell said. “But then once the leader does that anything goes and the race is basically started back up again and the line doesn’t come into play.”

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