Recently, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller addressed the controversy surrounding Chase Elliott. Elliott faced a tough task because his radio communications went down and he had to improvise. However, his use of hand gestures was supposedly illegal, yet he escaped disqualification.
“We were made aware of that, and we have a lot going on in the tower and we can’t monitor every single radio transmission from all the teams, but we do keep tabs on that,” Miller said.
“We did get word that there was some potential problem at the first pit stop. When we listened to some of the dialogue back and forth on the scanner, it seemed as though Chase was communicating with his crew chief about the car and there was some dialogue back. We felt like they were in communication with one another. We were wrong about that.”
Later on, the #9 driver confirmed that his communication issues were not under control. Miller acknowledged that making such decisions are not easy. If they get it wrong, they have to live with them and move on to the next race. He insisted that the driver and the spotter should have that communication, so Elliott should have been brought in.
NASCAR’s mistake was assuming that everything was alright, based on the back-and-forth dialogue. However, it wasn’t the case; the officials got it wrong and there is nothing they can do now, except move on.
“Most of the times when we have brought people in, it, ironically, has been because they’ve had either a speeding on pit road, some kind of pit road infraction or some other infraction and we communicate to the spotter to bring the driver down pit road and there is no response,” Miller concluded.
“That’s when we typically become aware of a radio problem. In those cases, when the driver doesn’t respond to what the spotter is asking him to do, we always make them come down and fix it.”
Having said all that, the team will now be extra vigilant to ensure that there is no repeat. The last thing Chase Elliott needs is an ill-timed black flag squandering his hopes of making the final four.