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Sprint Cup winners should be DQ’d when their cars fail post-race inspection

By admin | December 8, 2013

By Richard Allen

Chase Elliott won the Snowball Derby at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. on Sunday… or so it seemed. During post-race technical inspection, the second generation driver’s car was found to be illegal and he was striped of the victory in the prestigious short track event.

Many short track sanctioning bodies and tracks employ the same policy of disqualifying race winners when violations are found in post-race tear downs.

Elliott’s car had tungsten weights placed in its frame where only lead weights are allowed. Race cars often do not meet the minimum weight standards on their own and must have weights added to the frame in order meet those requirements. Tungsten is heavier than lead, which would allow for a team to more strategically place the weights and create better handling of the car. Sanctioning bodies disallow tungsten in order to keep costs down because that material is far more expensive than lead.

If a Sprint Cup driver’s car were found to have such an infraction, the driver and team would get to keep their win and trophy but would be hit with a fine and a points reduction a few days later. This has been standard practice in NASCAR for years.

After a 1978 race in Atlanta had its winner flip flopped multiple times in the hours following the event due to a scoring snafu, NASCAR has made it policy that fans and competitors will know who the race winner was when they leave the track. That means race winning cars found to be in violation of the rules are scored as the victor even though the points and earnings may not reflect such.

That policy may have been appropriate two or three decades ago. However, it has grown obsolete in these modern times.

Had a race win been taken down in the 1980s, the results of such a move might be buried in the back of a newspaper days after the fact. It would have been a realistic possibility that some fans who attended the event might never know such a decision was made. However, in today’s social media driven society, many fans would be aware of such a change before they even walked through the front door of their homes that night.

It seems silly to have the “winner” of a race score fewer points than drivers who finished outside the top-10.

Set the standards each car is expected to meet. In some areas, such as fender heights, small tolerances might be made to allow for the wear and tear of an event. Then let it be known to drivers, crew chiefs and owners that if they choose to play within those areas of tolerances, they run the risk of outright disqualification.

It would probably be remarkable how many fewer times cars fail post-race tech if such a policy were put in place.

In the opinion of this writer, races such as the Snowball Derby have it right. If a car fails inspection, it and its driver do not deserve to be labeled as winners. NASCAR needs to adopt that same policy.

Topics: Articles |

12 Responses to “Sprint Cup winners should be DQ’d when their cars fail post-race inspection”

  1. Leto Says:
    December 8th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Tungsten is NOT heavier than lead; it’s denser. And yes, there is a difference. It means that a smaller amount of tungsten would be needed to get the same weight when compared to lead.

    The reason NASCAR won’t change the rule any more is because of the huge amount of money that sponsors and teams put forth. Not to mention that a large portion of the “violations” that come out any more after a race are small things like a part breaking halfway through the race and causing the car to be too low in post-race inspection.

  2. kb Says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 1:34 am

    I look at it just the opposite of your reasoning.

  3. Arnold Decker Says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I agree with you NASCAR needs to change the rule.

    A disqualified car should not win the race.

  4. Michael in SoCal Says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I agree that a disqualified car should in no way be declared a winning car. I would also put forth that any race winning team caught with an illegal car (not caused by a part failure) should be disqualified from the next race as well.

  5. RacingFan Says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 2:26 am

    This can’t be as simple as a black and white rule. NASCAR needs to be able to penalize cars for rule violations that probably did not affect the outcome of the race, but create a need to make a statement that there is no tolerance in an area. An example is the slightly underweight connecting rod mixed in with the overweight ones in the Toyota this year.

    There are so many small details that could be discovered in a thorough inspection of the winner that might have been unintentional and not a factor in the race. So far, wins have a minimal affect upon the championship. A win is mostly prestige, and it is nice for the fans (who come mainly to see who wins, not for points changes) to leave the track knowing the winner. Finding out later that the exciting photo finish was invalidated by a small part being out of spec will not help.

    However, I agree that a violation like jet fuel in the tank is cause for disqualification of a win. Unfortunately, that leaves an evaluation of the severity as a judgement call by NASCAR.

  6. Russ Says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Impound races would solve the problem. I.E. Cars are impounded after qualifying and teams are not allowed to work on them until the race starts. Of course then the onus will be on Nascars pre race inspection to get it right.

  7. mrclause Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Which weighs more, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?

  8. Chris Fiegler Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I think that all Winners in all NASCAR Sanctioned Races who fails Post Race Inspection should be Disqualified Immediately.

  9. GinaV24 Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Oh heavens, no more impound races. The racing was awful with that rule in place.

  10. Bill B Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    As I read this article I was in complete agreement but some people brought up some very practical concerns. I’ll add one more. Since this is a professional sport and every position pays points and money, both of which are extremely important, shouldn’t all cars be inspected at the end of a race?

  11. Rich Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    If a race team is found to have a car that is deemed to be disqualified. I believe that the driver and owner should get 1 participation point and a last place finish.

    Just as they do with a car that fails inspection after qualifying their time is disallowed and they start at the end of the field. I don’t believe that nascar should disqualify a car for minor infractions ie being to low after the race.

  12. Russ Says:
    December 13th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Either you want to eliminate the cheating or you don’t. If you do, the only way is to not let them work on the cars after qualifying.
    And if you are going to let them work on the cars after qualifying why have an inspection?