One week after announcing a new policy of levying potentially stiffer penalties for substantial violations of technical regulations found in post-race inspection, NASCAR officials said Wednesday that the sanctioning body will not penalize Sprint Cup teams for minor infractions discovered during routine post-race laser inspection. Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, the cars of race winner Martin Truex Junior and twelfth-place finisher Jimmie Johnson failed post-race inspection by small measurements that were slightly outside approved tolerances. NASCAR said yesterday that it will not penalize those teams, which were among the nine subjected to post-race laser inspection following the opening round of the 2016 Chase … Truex was not the only winning driver whose vehicle failed post-race inspection at Chicagoland. Kyle Busch won the Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 225, but his Toyota lost in the inspection line afterwards. Laser inspection is not used in the Truck Series, where Busch’s Tundra was found to be too low. Minor penalties were handed down Wednesday, with crew chief Wes Ward fined six thousand dollars and the team docked ten championship points – dropping it from a tie for thirtieth into a tie for thirty-first in the owner standings.
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The 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup now moves from the Midwest to New Hampshire for Sunday’s New England 300. Chase drivers have won this race all twelve years the current post-season structure has been in place. Matt Kenseth, the Number-7 seed in this year’s Challenger Round, is the defending winner and also won this season’s first stop at “The Magic Mile” on July 17th. No Cup Series driver has won three in a row at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the track began hosting the series in 1993 … Just twice in the Chase era (2004 to the present) has the winner of the fall race in New Hampshire gone on to win the title that same year: Kurt Busch in 2004 and Tony Stewart in 2011 … Nine of the sixteen drivers in the Challenger Round are past winners on the one-mile Loudon oval: Kenseth, Stewart, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski … There are forty drivers on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s New England 300, the fourth of six races to be contested on one-mile ovals this year. Harvick won at Phoenix International Raceway back in mid-March, with Kenseth winning at Dover and New Hampshire.
NASCAR’s post-season is set to begin with a new set of rules that gives the sanctioning body power to issue stiffer penalties so stringent that a driver could lose a championship if his team fails inspection. The bolstered sanctions announced Wednesday give NASCAR the authority to levy a harsh penalty should a car fail post-race laser inspection. A winning team would not be able to use the victory to automatically advance to the next round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The same penalty could apply to a team that does not have enough secure lug nuts on its vehicle’s wheels at the end of a race. The new penalties will go into effect if a team fails post-race inspection by a significant amount, or if three or more of the twenty lug nuts aren’t secure. A winning team will not be stripped of victory, but the benefits that come with it would be withdrawn. For the three season-ending races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, the finishing position of a driver with post-race inspection issues would not count when determining the champion and placement of other Chase finalists. The new rules will generally apply to all three of NASCAR’s national series: Sprint Cup,
X-FINITY and Camping World Trucks.
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