Kurt Busch controlled much of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway and was leading on the final lap in overtime before running out of fuel in Turn 4.
But afterward, Busch raised an issue with what he felt were two non-calls by NASCAR late in the race which played into the finish.
A caution with three laps left of the originally scheduled race distance set up an overtime restart. Busch felt NASCAR ran an extra lap under caution before the field was shown the green flag again. NASCAR overtime consists of drivers seeing the green flag with three laps to go.
With some teams close on fuel, a few drivers ran around on the apron under caution with Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski running out of fuel coming to the green flag. Busch ran out on the last lap.
“Why we had an extra yellow flag lap is beyond me, the track was ready to go,” Busch told NBC Sports.
The second issue was the final-lap accident in Turn 1. After Busch took the white flag with Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer chasing him, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, and Paul Menard, a crash broke out involving Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott.
“At the end, once we cross the white flag if there’s a wreck and an ambulance needs to be dispatched — I’ve been on the other side of that where I was racing coming back to win the race, and they said, well we had to dispatch an ambulance,” said Busch.
“There was two cars dead in the water down there. Chase Elliott’s safety is of my concern, so was the 32 car. So, it’s a human call. There’s rules that need to be stricter at the end of these races.”
Busch started the 1000Bulbs.com 500 from the pole and won Stage 1. He led a race-high 108 laps and was credited with a 14th-place finish.
“We ran out of gas,” Busch said. “It’s hard to save gas as the leader, and I was pulling out all the information that I could. My team did an incredible job to tell me about the different situations, and we came up a little shy on fuel.
“Wow, what a car. Thanks to Doug Yates and everybody at Ford. Very impressive.”
NASCAR responded to Busch’s concerns in a statement: “We were closely monitoring each car involved, and were actively communicating with spotters and safety trucks in Turn 1. All cars were able to either roll off under their own power or signal they were clear. As always, we make every effort to end under green for our fans in the stands and at home, which we did.”