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NASCAR Cup: Jimmie Johnson’s non-penalty addressed

Jimmie Johnson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

During a lap-280 caution in the Bank of America 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, a tire changer tightened a lug nut on the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson outside the team’s pit box.

Johnson began to leave his pit stall when he was told by crew chief Chad Knaus to stop. Johnson backed up, but not completely back inside his pit box, before the front tire changer tightened or replaced a lug nut.

Despite the pit miscue, Johnson has his team were not issued a penalty by NASCAR for the team servicing the car outside the pit box. The non-penalty has been the subject of controversy in the time since. Normally, pitting outside the box results in a one-lap penalty.

Rule 10.9.7.d in the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rule book reads as follows:

“A vehicle may receive service only when they are in their assigned pit box and/or the garage area or at NASCAR’s discretion. Should a vehicle pit outside of its assigned pit box and begin to remove a wheel/tire(s), crew members must reinstall those same wheel/tire(s) and re-position the vehicle back within their pit box to avoid a penalty.”

According to NASCAR Senior Vice Present of Competition Scott Miller, NASCAR didn’t assess the traditional one-lap penalty, because the missing/loose lug nut was a safety issue and the team suffered the penalty of a slow stop when Johnson stopped, again, and backed up part of the way back into his pit stall for the lug nut to be tightened/replaced.

On an episode of “NASCAR America” on NBC Sports, analysts Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty agreed that Johnson’s teams operated within the rules and, therefore, shouldn’t have been penalized.

“When I go back and I read the rules and I go through it, I completely understand that there shouldn’t be a penalty for the 48,” Letarte said. “It’s hard to explain, but think about a car that slides long into the pit box; the tire changer starts to take lug nuts off. You push the car back; you jack it up, change the tires and everything’s fine. That’s also hitting the lug nuts outside the pit box. By the rule, the 48 shouldn’t have been penalized. I questioned it during the broadcast because it failed the eye test.”

According to Petty, thinking that Johnson should’ve been penalized a lap for the incident Sunday is a case of not knowing the “subtleties of the rules.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on October 10, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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