Hunter Anthony: Winner DQed for Not Wearing Gloves

Hunter Anthony: Winner DQed for Not Wearing Gloves

Hunter Anthony crossed the finish line first in the final hornet feature of the Bristol Dirt Nationals. However, officials disqualified him for not wearing SFI 3.3 fire-retardant gloves (as we photographed during the closing laps). The decision to penalize Anthony stirred up much discussion this past week.

How Event Officials Noticed

Officials first noticed the issue prior to the final restart.

“They had a red flag, and after the red flag they had a green-white-checkered finish,” said Kelley Carlton, tech director for the Bristol Dirt Nationals. “As they started to roll off, one of the crew guys said to the flagman, ‘Hey, it doesn’t look like the leader has gloves on.’ By the time it went through [discussion among officials on the radio], it had already gone back to green.”

In an effort to move the show along, officials rushed Anthony to victory lane.

“When the flagman saw him go across the line, he said, ‘He didn’t have a glove on that hand [he held out the window],’” Carlton said. “Based off the flagman seeing that, we had an officials’ meeting at the back gate. I was not given a choice, he had to be disqualified for that infraction.”

When Officials Informed the Driver

Social media pundits grilled the Bristol Dirt Nationals’ decision to disqualify Anthony after he tasted victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I felt like I was treated badly,” said Anthony. “If it was that much of a big deal, I should have been pulled off the track. If they’re going to enforce something to the max like that, then you need to check everybody before the race.”

Carlton countered.

“There wasn’t any time to black-flag him,” Carlton said. “We spent the better part of five days checking [safety] equipment pre-race. We were doing spot checks, but you can’t look at every single car when there are that many cars out there.”

Does the Penalty Fit the Crime

Some, including Anthony, questioned whether not wearing gloves warranted such a penalty.

“It’s overboard,” said Anthony of the disqualification. “Rules are rules, but … they didn’t have any type of penalties listed [for not wearing gloves]. There was a NASCAR driver who did it, and he just got fined.”

Hunter Anthony is referring to NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney, who failed to wear gloves for a practice session at Darlington Raceway in 2016. NASCAR fined Blaney $1,000 for the infraction.

“There’s no question that guy deserves to win the race [based on his performance] on-track,” Carlton said. “But, it’s like any other rules. If you break a rule, there’s a consequence, and [the disqualification] was the consequence we had to delve out there. That was the only choice I had.”

Questioning Mandated Safety Items

Anthony started the race wearing his RaceQuip gloves that he purchased at the track from SRI Performance. He said he took them during the first or second caution.

“I didn’t feel comfortable racing with those gloves on,” said Anthony. “I have to feel the steering wheel.”

Anthony, 21, races at tracks near his Liberty, South Carolina, home, which include Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina; Lavonia Speedway in Georgia; and Travelers Rest Speedway in South Carolina.

“At the tracks around the house, you don’t have to have gloves — it’s your option,” Anthony said.

Hunter Anthony also competes in the Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association (SCDRA), when they venture to tracks near him. Carlton promotes the SCDRA.

“I hate how it rolled out,” said Carlton. “Hunter’s a good young man. He made a mistake … a costly mistake.”