>I'm a fairly new NASCAR fan (just over a year but haven't missed a race
>on TV) and I'm hoping someone out there can explain the Terry Labonte
>red flag pit stop confusion to me. He was committed to the pitstop BEFORE
>the red flag was thrown, so why was he penalized (i.e. all the other cars
>were allowed to pit right away)? He should have come out in the lead,
>and had that been the case, he may have won the race. Terry "risked"
>making a pitstop under yellow thus sacrificing field position. Either he
>should have been in first place when the race went green, or in 6th
>where he was when he pitted. Third made NO sense to me. Someone
>please help me; I actually thought I was beginning to understand all the
Here is my understanding of what took place.
The field was under yellow due to rain and the pit opened for cars
on the lead lap. TL was the only lead lap car that chose to pit.
The red came out and the race was stopped. TL was permitted to complete
his pit stop since he hadn't caught the red. He joined the field at
the end (of the entire field since cars are in single file during
When the race went back to yellow NASCAR picked up where they left
off - on the second lap under yellow which means that all cars can
enter the pits. Since the pace car was not in front of the field then
there wasn't any kind of benchmark for where the start the field was.
Since the field was so long in single file two of the lead lap cars
were able to pit and get back out in front of TL who was slowing rolling
around the track. IF TL had realized what was going on he could have
sped up as cars entered pit road and might could have kept the cars
which first entered the pits to come out in front of him. But obviously
that didn't happen.
NASCAR was remiss in not getting the pace car in front of the field
before reopening the pits but once they made that mistake everything
else was just trying to make the best of the situation. Obviously
the flagman at the end of pit road could not stop the cars from
reentering the field in front of TL since the pace car had not passed
the end of pit road (the indication he uses to hold cars from exiting).
That's what I saw anyway.