O’Donnell discusses Martinsville,
Kenseth incident with media
Photos by David Becker/NASCAR via Getty Images
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell in 2014. O'Donnell met with the media Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
By Dominic Aragon
November 2, 2015
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell met with the media post-race at Martinsville Speedway to talk about Sunday’s race.
Among the topics of discussion were Matt Kenseth, the Chase format and Martinsville Speedway.
“I think first and foremost, certainly really happy to see the emotion from Jeff Gordon tonight, the win that puts him in place to run for a championship in Miami,” O’Donnell said. “It was great to see the fans stick around.
“I want to congratulate the track on the efforts they put in today to be able to get that in, all 500 laps, which we felt like was a terrific effort by the track.
“I’m sure there are a number of questions about the event tonight. A lot of action took place during the race.”
The first question asked brought up the possibility of NASCAR parking Kenseth.
“I think in the case with Matt, we were certainly disappointed with what took place tonight on the racetrack,” he said. “…Like we always do, there's still a lot to digest from what happened tonight. We'll do that. We'll have some additional conversations and probably come out with something, if there is anything to discuss, on Tuesday.”
O’Donnell was asked if the playoff format “creates this type of reaction from a driver.”
“I don’t,” he said. “I think the Chase format creates great racing on the track. You saw six of the eight competitors who were going for a championship lead laps today. Drivers at their best.
“You’re going to see drivers going door-to-door, and in the history of NASCAR we’ve seen that. Again, I'd go back to this incident as a one-off that we'll look at.”
Another reporter asked if Martinsville Speedway needs lights.
“That’s a great question,” he said. “I can tell you if we wouldn’t have gotten 500 laps in, I would have said absolutely, yes. I think we’ll continue to look at the start time.
“We were certainly up against it today. We had a number of cautions. It's something we’ll talk to the track about. But really glad we were able to get all 500 [laps] in today.”