Kyle Larson took advantage of three late cautions Sunday en route to his. One of the yellow flags came out because of debris with 21 laps to go as Kyle Busch was leading the race, opening the door for Larson and other drivers to capitalize on the restart.
Busch was gambling on fuel, and had the caution never come out he may have been able to win his first playoff-clinching win of the season. Instead, he had to settle for a respectable seventh place finish.
Several drivers spoke out about the debris caution after the race. One person in particular who expressed frustration was retired NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. The former driver turned co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing took to Twitter.
Three of Stewart’s drivers — Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick — were involved in wrecks following the debris caution. Bowyer was sent straight into the wall after getting loose, while Harvick and Patrick were involved in a separate multicar wreck. The damage done to Patrick’s car was enough to warrant a last-place finish.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of the other drivers who expressed frustration on social media after the race, despite a bounce-back performance that earned him a top-10 finish.
“I don’t know why they’ve got to throw so many damn debris yellows,” Earnhardt said during a postrace Periscope broadcast. “The purpose of having stages was really because the networks want more cautions, more restarts, because people tune in when we have a caution. They tune in for a restart. That’s the whole reason why we have the stages to try to create a little more drama, so I don’t know why we keep throwing the damn debris yellows and stuff.”
If that wasn’t enough, the No. 88 driver fired off a few debris-related tweets afterward.
While NASCAR decided to throw the yellow with 21 laps to go for debris, there wasn’t nearly as much concern when a cowboy hat was left out on the track midrace.