On the final lap of Monday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, JJ Yeley came up behind Matt Kenseth, who had run out of fuel, and gave Kenseth a shove through Turns 3 and 4 to help him make it to the finish.
Kenseth crossed the finish line in eighth, but NASCAR later penalized Kenseth and moved him to 21st in the lineup, the first car one lap down.
There is a rule which prohibits drivers from providing assistance to other drivers on the final lap of a race. NASCAR can penalize the driver being pushed as well as the one who does the pushing.
Following the race, Yeley explained what took place during the race while making an appearance on Sirius NASCARXM Radio's post race show with Claire B. Lang and Jim Noble.
Here is what Yeley had to say:
"The rule I guess used to be is a little foggy and now, I guess, NASCAR has clarified it for me that no driver can get any assistance on the final lap. We were running along doing our own thing. We blew a right front tire which did significant damage to the front end. We were just minding our own business as we came to the white (flag). I went down to the apron and Matt went by me and as I got back behind him it appeared he was out of fuel, so I pushed him through Turns 3 and 4 and the way I thought the rule read was you weren't allowed to push them across the line. I got loose from Matt and went on my merry way.
"It wasn't until I left the race track that (crew chief) Jay Guy called me and said I needed to have a conversation with NASCAR because they wanted to penalize the 17. It's not fair to them, you know, because he didn't ask me to push him. He just ran out of fuel in front of me and I was just trying to help out. Now I know the rule.
"There is some clarification that is going to have to be made in the future because in every restrictor-plate race that we've run this year, there's been assistance on that final lap. In three restrictor-plate races, the winner has been pushed across the line. ... At the end of the day I don't think it was not fair to them."