[media-credit name=”Kyle Ocker” align=”alignright” width=”232″][/media-credit]As the laps dwindled down in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, teams and fans alike were brought to the attention of suspicious radio communication between Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet and crew chief Danny Stockman.
In a close battle with teammate and championship competitor, Elliott Sadler, Dillon was radioed by his crew chief to “not help” the No. 2 of Sadler. While some took this comment as a usual thought of any racer, many are looking deeper into why it may have been said.
Sadler, who is reportedly leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2012 season, believes there are no hard feelings within the organization.
“I don’t think so – I don’t know what that means,” Sadler said. “We share really good notes. We always have.”
A heavy focus has been made on Dillon and his grandfather-turned-team owner’s heavy influence on his team and racing career. Following today’s comments, the amount of input his grandfather has on his grandson’s championship run in the Nationwide Series is questioned by many and what lengths could be taken to assure he is in the hunt without having to fend off a soon to be leaving teammate.
“We’re one big happy family,” says Stockman, following his realization of the amount of discussion brought on by the comments.
While it may simply be a miscommunication, from the fans’ point of view, it reopens the question of whether or not team orders can come into play in the final races counting down to the crowning of a new champion.
Are team orders alive in NASCAR, or is it still any driver for himself? That’s for teams to decide and for fans to debate about.