Friday, September 9, 2011

Gilliland: What about safety first?

   David Gilliland doesn't understand why NASCAR waited to throw a caution during Tuesday's Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he sat in his powerless car at the entrance to pit road.

   On Lap 174 during a round of green-flag pit stops, Gilliland spun while attempting to enter pit road and his car came to rest along the pit road wall. He put his window down indicating he was OK and that he could not continue.

   "There were cars coming on pit road. There were cars racing on the race track. I assumed they would throw the caution," he said. "I even told my spotter (I couldn't continue) and finally I told him to tell NASCAR if they don't throw the caution, I'm going to get out because I don't feel safe sitting here on pit road.

   "I don't know how many laps they run but it felt like forever. I understand there was a pit cycle going on but at the end of the day safety is the foremost concern."

   When Gilliland drove off the banking to come to pit road his car wheel-hopped and his drive-shaft broke, which is why he could not move. NASCAR finally put out the caution on Lap 177 - once all teams had finished their green-flag stops.

   Asked if he spoke to NASCAR officials about the incident afterward, he said, "No, I never do."