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November 1, 2015

Steve O'Donnell


THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell. Steve has a couple of comments he would like to make, then we'll take a few questions.
STEVE O'DONNELL: I think first and foremost, certainly really happy to see the emotion from Jeff Gordon tonight, the win that puts him in place to run for a championship in Miami. It was great to see the fans stick around.
I want to congratulate the track on the efforts they put in today to be able to get that in, all 500 laps, which we felt like was a terrific effort by the track.
I'm sure there are a number of questions about the event tonight. A lot of action took place during the race. With that I'd open it up to any questions anybody might have.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.

Q. The obvious one to start with, the discussion with Kenseth. Is there a possibility of parking him?
STEVE O'DONNELL: I think in the case with Matt, we were certainly disappointed with what took place tonight on the racetrack. We had a conversation with both Matt, crew chief, Joe Gibbs. Like we always do, there's still a lot to digest from what happened tonight. We'll do that. We'll have some additional conversations and probably come out with something, if there is anything to discuss, on Tuesday.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of intensity in the Chase. Where is the line from what NASCAR wants to see out of that intensity? What's good for the sport and bad for the sport?
STEVE O'DONNELL: I think what we've said is the Chase promotes great racing. We saw that today on the racetrack. We saw a lot of different competitors out there competing for the win.
I think what was disappointing today was the incident that I think we're referring to would be a driver that's not competing for a win, in fact, was many laps down when that happened.
In our minds, that's a little bit different than two drivers really going after it coming out of turn four for a win versus what happened tonight.

Q. Do you feel the Chase format kind of creates this type of reaction from a driver?
STEVE O'DONNELL: I don't. I think the Chase format creates great racing on the track. You saw six of the eight competitors who were going for a championship lead laps today. Drivers at their best.
You're going to see drivers going door‑to‑door, and in the history of NASCAR we've seen that. Again, I'd go back to this incident as a one‑off that we'll look at.
But we continue to believe that the Chase promotes great racing on the track. I think the fans certainly saw that today.

Q. You said you guys were disappointed in part because it was somebody not in the Chase. Had this been two Chase competitors, would you look at it differently?
STEVE O'DONNELL: I didn't say because it was somebody not in the Chase. I said it was a driver that was many laps down. That's where we've looked at it differently than we have other incidents.

Q. Do you think Martinsville needs lights?
STEVE O'DONNELL: That's a great question. I can tell you if we wouldn't have gotten 500 laps in, I would have said absolutely, yes. I think we'll continue to look at the start time. We were certainly up against it today. We had a number of cautions.
It's something we'll talk to the track about. But really glad we were able to get all 500 in today.

Q. Anything on the table in terms of punishment for Matt?
STEVE O'DONNELL: We'll look at it. By stating we're going to discuss it, there's certainly things we want to look at, compare it. Look at videotape, have conversations like we do with any of these incidents.
We never make an announcement on a Sunday night. It's something we still want to review. And, yeah, there are options on the table for us.

Q. (No microphone.)
STEVE O'DONNELL: I think we're going to review all the tape.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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