Thankfully ambulance mix-up didn't ruin playoff — NASCAR official

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Thankfully ambulance mix-up didn't ruin playoff — NASCAR official

Steve O'Donnell admits Saturday was a "rough night" for NASCAR officiating at Richmond Raceway. I'm not a very good short track racer, so for us to come here and challenge for the win and get the win, it feels great. "I mean, everybody can see it".

"I have never ran one of these races before, but I sure would think that up in the tower, you're calling pit road and all of a sudden you see an ambulance sitting in the middle of the pit-road entry, you'd probably close it for a lap and wait until it clears out".

"I love racing at Richmond, but that last race before the playoffs is just nerve-wracking", said Michael McDowell.

When Patrick spun with 144 laps remaining, NASCAR officials dispatched an ambulance, safety truck, and a tow truck as part of its protocol whenever an on-track incident occurs.

NASCAR senior vice president Scott Miller later addressed the incident, saying the governing body will investigate the occurrence, as the ambulance driver failed to follow instructions to stop before reaching the entrance of pit road.

"We communicated multiple times over the radio to stop, pit road was open and unfortunately where the vehicle chose to stop was in the worst place", said O'Donnell. But relatively early in the third stage, the strangest thing happened.

No, Larson doesn't have as many bonus points as series leader Truex Jr., who now leads the standings by 20 playoff points over the No. 42 Ganassi Racing team.

UNHAPPY TRUEX: Truex actually clinched the regular-season title a week ago at Darlington and this new reward came with a trophy presentation to match the bonus points Truex takes into the playoffs.

The victory was his fourth of the season, tying Truex for the most this year. "So I guess that gives me hope that we'll have speed tomorrow night".

"We know what we have to do this weekend", said Bayne. He's retiring at the end of the season, and he has never won a Cup title.

"Hopefully we can carry this momentum off into the playoffs and make it through the three rounds or whatever it is to make it to Homestead and go for the championship". Truex ended up in the wall, and luckily for Kenseth, Larson won the race with Joey Logano in second, one spot short of eliminating Kenseth. "It was the only shot we had".

"I'm disappointed,". "We had some odd luck [this year]". We get fast and contend for wins, but it takes -- we're always behind kind of fighting before we get to around this time of year, and this year we started off really good. But as stout as Truex has been all season, Larson know the No. 78 Furniture Row team will be hard to top down the stretch.

"Tonight is a little tough, it's a little hard to be excited, " he said.

Chaos erupted with 140 laps remaining because an ambulance clogged the entrance to pit road as cars headed to their stalls. Worst of all, championship hopeful Matt Kenseth slammed into the rear end of the vehicle ahead of him, forcing him to retire after his car's radiator was damaged. Clint Bowyer's No. 14 Ford was also damaged, but he was able to stay out.

The incident could have knocked Kenseth out of the playoffs had there been a first-time victor, but Larson fixed that, allowing Kenseth, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray to make the 16-driver field as the only non-winners.

Logano finished second, and Bowyer was 24th. Under series rules, Logano was allowed to keep the victory, but it no longer guaranteed him a spot in the playoffs. It was trending this way for a while, ever since he won that race at Richmond (in April) and then had that finish declared encumbered, the auto was deemed illegal and the win didn't count toward the playoffs. He also lost playoff points.

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