March 21, 2014 — Photo courtesy FOX News — FONTANA, Calif. — NASCAR addressed this week the caution light malfunction at the end of last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, saying that the sanctioning body will take necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of the issue.
The caution lights flashed on in the late stages of Sunday’s Food City 500, creating confusion because the flag was not waving and no NASCAR officials signaled for a caution period from race control’s radio. The flag waved seconds later, just before a final rainstorm stopped the race with Carl Edwards in front as the eventual winner.
A post-race investigation of the final caution determined that someone had inadvertently brushed against a manual switch in the flagstand. The issue was addressed again in NASCAR’s weekly competition meeting in Concord, N.C.
“The caution (lights) system originates in race control,” a NASCAR spokesperson said in a statement. “What happened at Bristol was that unfortunately, a manual override switch got accidently tripped. We will take the necessary steps with the race tracks to make sure that everything in the flagstand area is properly secured and protected. Please note that not all of the flagstands are alike and some tracks host different forms of motorsports.”
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition and racing development, said Sunday that officials attempted to turn off the caution lights after they were initially displayed, but that the override switch prevented it.