Between the tweaking of the playoffs in NASCAR and penalties, 2017 won’t be win and you’re in for all teams. A penalty after Richmond International Raceway’s race this past Sunday means Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner Joey Logano’s win won’t be counted towards playoff eligibility.
Post-Race Track Inspections
After each the race, the winning car, second place car, and a car selected at random are hauled back to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. As the the winning car, the No. 22 was one of the three vehicles inspected at the R&D Center.
During the process, NASCAR officials found the truck trailing arm spacers/pinion angle shims did not conform to NASCAR rules, meaning the Richmond victory has less weight for Logano and the rest of his Penske Racing team.
As a result of the failed inspection, Logano will not be able to utilize his win to get into the playoffs, nor will he receive the five playoff points typically earned after a win under the 2017 rules. Logano will also be docked 25 points.
Crew Chief Consequences
With the No. 22’s failed post-race track inspection at the R&D Center, NASCAR also suspended the No. 22 crew chief, Todd Gordon for a pair of races and fined him $50,000. Penske has already announced they would not appeal the decision.
Penske already has another appeal with NASCAR for their other Cup team. Brad Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe and Team Penske have their final appeal hearing on May 9. Wolfe will sit out this coming weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, serving the second race of a three-race suspension for penalties from the March 19 race at Phoenix. Wolfe’s move is preemptive, requiring him to only site out next week in Kansas if their appeal were to fail. No word yet on whether the No. 22 team’s crew chief will follow a similar strategy or not.
R&D Center Inspections
The inspection at the R&D Center is much more extensive than the inspections done at the track. The selected trio of cars have their engines measured on a dynamometer. Those engines then are disassembled and inspected. Other tests and inspections include verifying gear ratios and measuring and weighing various components.
R&D Center NASCAR officials also check the rear suspension for proper dimensions, construction and weight. Rear end, rear gear, differential, axles, shocks and the fuel cell are all also completely. The car’s exhaust, air ducting, electrical components/wiring are removed and checked. The front sway bar and upper and lower control arms are measured and inspected. Front and rear springs inspected for height, dimensional correctness and linear compliance. A complete safety audit is also conducted and cataloged through the process.
This process is where Logano’s car’s infractions were found.