NASCAR’s Scott Miller said penalizing Darrell Wallace Jr. nearly a week after he spun in Texas was a reaction to “a complete admission of guilt” from the driver.
Wallace said Friday night in the ISM Raceway garage to NBC Sports that he intentionally spun last weekend for his own benefit. He has been docked 50 points and fined $50,000.
“It’s not very straightforward to determine if that is done on purpose,” said Miller, the senior vice president of competition. “We’ve all watched the cars drive down the straightaway with a flat tire weaving all over the place. For us to make a definitive call that a guy spun out on purpose when he can barely keep his car going straight is a big call, and it’s a judgment call, and it’s a call that we would like to not have to make.”
Miller also disputed a claim from Kyle Larson that SMT data proved Wallace spun on purpose. Larson and crew chief Chad Johnston were furious last weekend about the Wallace caution because it affected their race as they had just pitted under green flag conditions. Larson said after the race it was an obvious spin and doubled down when asked Friday at ISM.
“We don’t have a lot of data comparison of a guy trying to drive a car with a flat tire, so we’ve looked at all that and we don’t really feel like it’s as straightforward as some of the others do, as far as the data showing definitively that he did it on purpose,” said Miller.
Given that a penalty has now been issued to a driver who has intentionally spun, Miller hopes going forward it changes how drivers react with a flat tire. But he said all NASCAR could do is wait and watch and see how they need to react.
“Hopefully it cleans itself up,” said Miller. “If we feel like it’s on purpose and we have enough information to determine 100 percent it’s on purpose, we will react.”