NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said today that the sanctioning body will address drivers tossing water bottles out of their cars during races, a practice that appeared to play a role in a pair of caution periods during Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive that while drivers routinely discard empty water bottles while exiting pit road under caution, NASCAR sometimes struggles to determine the nature of debris on the track apron.
“Coming off pit road, sometimes you see (debris) down on the apron where water bottles are discarded,’’ he said. “In this case, we candidly weren’t really sure (what it was). We knew it was potentially one of the (bottles) that are a little bit different with the material they’re made out of.”
Many drivers use Gatorade-branded plastic bottles, which constitute little or no threat when run-over by race cars. Not all bottles, however, are made of the same plastic, creating issues for NASCAR in their attempts to determine whether or not to call a debris caution.
O’Donnell said officials were not able to determine who threw the offending bottles, but promised to address the situation with drivers this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“If someone is purposely trying to manipulate a caution, that’s not something that is going to be tolerated,” he said. “We’ll have to look into that further as we go and we’ll address that with the teams. It’s something that we’ve addressed in the past, and we’ll continue to do that with the drivers.”