INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on July 23, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR officials defend the caution flag that ended the Brickyard 400

Kasey Kahne won his first race in nearly three years at the Brickyard 400 after being declared the winner in overtime after a delayed caution to end the race.

NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell denied speculation that officials waited for Kahne to pass the overtime line before the caution flag was waved.

"What we have always said and we have always been consistent in is [that] we're going to make every attempt to finish the race under green and to do that you have to see what happens with an incident," O'Donnell said. "Once we decided to throw the caution, when we wanted to dispatch emergency equipment, we also knew that there was oil on the race track.

"We threw the caution and ultimately that's the end of the race."

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The race took over six hours to finish due to thunderstorms, and there were 14 caution flags during the race. Due to the delays, it was almost dark when the race finally concluded, though O'Donnell said the lighting had nothing to do with the decision to end the race.

"It didn't," O'Donnell said about lighting playing a role in ending the race, "but we would not have been able to restart that race.

"There was oil down, it would have been another red flag. The last couple of red flags were 15-20 minutes with oil so we were up against it as well."

O'Donnell said they will discuss the overtime line rule after the season, and changes could be made that would move it to the start/finish line.

For the rest of this season at least, the rule will remain the same and Kahne can continue celebrating his playoff berth.

(h/t AutoSport)