NASCAR misses blatantly obvious penalty at Darlington

John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Darlington, NASCAR (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Darlington, NASCAR (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

As far as blatantly obvious infractions go, NASCAR missed a big one in Friday night’s Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ John Hunter Nemechek, who led the NASCAR Truck Series with five victories last season, finally got himself into victory lane in 2022 by winning Friday night’s Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington Raceway, the seventh of 23 races on the schedule.

Nemechek started the season with three straight finishes of 24th place or worse before reeling off three consecutive top four finishes heading into the weekend and taking the checkered flag.

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But the big story from the end of the race revolved around the driver who finished in fourth place — and why, by rule, he should not have been scored there.

Ahead of a late restart in the 149-lap race around the four-turn, 1.366-mile (2.198-kilometer) egg-shaped oval in Darlington, South Carolina, ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski ran over the choose box.

Drivers are required to pick a lane before reaching the V-shaped cone on the race track the lap before the restart. But if a driver has not committed in time and runs over the box inside the cone, that driver is to be sent to the rear of the field.

Majeski ran over that box but wasn’t sent to the rear of the field, and he went on to finish in fourth place.

He knew he committed the infraction too, and he admitted afterward that he was quite worried that he would be penalized — as he should have been.

But like in any sport, missed calls happen in NASCAR. This just happened to be a big one — and a blatantly obvious one.

NASCAR has missed calls before, but they have also made up for certain calls by calling them several hundred laps later (see Kyle Busch at Richmond last month). However, in this case, they couldn’t do that.

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After the race, Majeski sits in seventh place in the point standings. Had the penalty been called, he likely would be sitting in eighth or ninth.