"We've got a tight points battle. Let's let it unfold as naturally as you can on the race track, and that includes pit road," said Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition.
Take particular note of the "pit road" part.
When Denny Hamlin pits Sunday, he will have Earnhardt in front of him, Burton behind him. That's notable because they are the teammates of the two drivers chasing Hamlin in the standings. Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, trails Hamlin by 33, while Kevin Harvick, Burton's Richard Childress Racing teammate, trails by 59. If they want to, Earnhardt and Burton can make Hamlin's pit stall very, very small, and potentially force him into a mistake that could turn the outcome of the race and the Chase.
Rarely does the NASCAR brass make notable comments during drivers meetings. This one was clear — Earnhardt and Burton should think twice about stopping short or long in their pit stalls.