NASCAR Fans & Drivers Sound Off After All-Star Race Controversy

Ryan Blaney

Getty Ryan Blaney's win at Texas had some controversial moments.

The NASCAR All-Star Race came to a close with Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney winning for the first time and locking himself into the future events. However, his payday was less of a story after a late caution created an uproar from the biggest names.

Blaney had a 2.5-second lead over Denny Hamlin on the final lap of the All-Star Race, and he was mere feet from crossing the finish line. However, NASCAR officials threw the caution flag as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall and skidded around a turn despite being nowhere near other competitors. Blaney unfastened his window net and started to celebrate before learning that he had to line up once again for an overtime finish.

“That wasn’t a caution,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted after watching NASCAR officials throw the yellow right before Blaney took the checkered flag. YouTuber Eric Estepp also joined in the discussion by calling the caution stupid and saying that Blaney should be the winner of the race.

Blaney was able to jump back to the front of the pack on the overtime restart after a timely push from teammate Austin Cindric. He led the final two laps and crossed the finish line under green flag conditions to capture the first All-Star Race of his career. He then showed some restraint during his post-race interview.

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“It was about to be real bad for us. I thought the race was over,” Blaney told FOX Sports’ Jamie Little after the race. “Everyone thought the race was over and I already had my window net down. I do want to thank NASCAR for letting me kind of fix it and not make us come down pit road. Yeah, that was really tough, and then having to do it all over again after getting that window net back up there.”

Hamlin Took Issue With a Major Rules Violation

The late caution was not the only moment that sparked uproar on social media. Blaney also completed the final two laps of the All-Star Race with his window net not properly fastened, which is both a violation of the NASCAR Rule Book and a safety issue.

Blaney actually unfastened his window net after originally crossing the finish line. He thought he had won, so he was ready to celebrate. Once he learned that he had to restart the race, he spent the caution laps attempting to fasten the net without much success. NASCAR did not allow Blaney to go down pit road to fix the window net and keep his position on the track.

The driver of the No. 12 was able to get his net secured enough for the race to go green once again, but it was not exactly fitting with the Rule Book. Hamlin said that NASCAR should have black-flagged Blaney for the window net violation. Though he acknowledged that he was glad that the Team Penske driver won considering how the race ended.

“This is not a Denny Hamlin judgment call,” he told FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass after the race. “I’m just saying, whatever the rule is, let’s just be consistent and play by the rules. It’s unfortunate because [Blaney] made a mistake. He should have won the race. He was 100 yards from winning the race.”

Hamlin continued and said that NASCAR “got away with one” because he and Blaney nearly crashed off of Turn 2. He said that he would have sent the No. 12 into traffic without a secure window net, which would have potentially led to a lawsuit.

The Location Also Drew Some Critical Comments

Ryan Blaney

GettyRyan Blaney crosses the finish line at Texas Motor Speedway.

Prior to the controversial ending of the All-Star Race, there was a different discussion taking place. Many people were calling for the race to take place at a different location than Texas Motor Speedway.

The Next Gen era has led to improved racing at intermediate tracks such as Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Kansas Speedway. The hope entering All-Star Weekend was that it would have the same effect on Texas Motor Speedway, but fans and analysts alike did not have positive comments.

“Stage 1 was about as fun as a rice cake,” Earnhardt tweeted after Kyle Busch led every single lap of the opening stage. He continued and clarified that he meant a plain rice cake. He wasn’t talking about caramel, cheddar, or any of the preferred flavors.

Both Hamlin and Kyle Larson explained that it “was impossible” to pass at Texas Motor Speedway. They knew that the car that got to the front of the pack would just take off and lead all of the laps.

The product on the track did not create excitement for many of the fans, and they responded by calling for a different location for the All-Star Race. Several tweeted that North Wilkesboro Speedway should be the future home of the event after it undergoes a massive renovation. Others took a different approach by simply saying that they want anything other than Texas Motor Speedway.

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Vincent Wiles
Vincent Wiles
1 month ago

Nascar screwed up 3 times, first they should have moved the race or taken it back to Charlotte to stay, second, they should have never called the caution. And third, they should have brought Blaney down pit road to have his window net properly attached and put him back in first place. ( As far as Hamlin he’s gonna cry about something. If they had crying teams in the olimpics Hamlin & Busch would bring home the gold to JGR every time )

Kelly Rubeck
Kelly Rubeck
1 month ago

I watched the race and I never seen and ending like that before!! I was wanting chase Elliott to win and for what to happen to him was terrible. Just thank God no one was hurt.

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