NASCAR Cup: NASCAR confiscates No. 78 team’s jack screws
Martin Truex Jr. (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR confiscated the left-front jack screw from the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota team of Martin Truex Jr. at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Saturday as teams went through pre-qualifying inspection for Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500 Sprint Cup Series race.
According to rule 220.127.116.11.a in the 2016 Sprint Cup Series rule book, jack screws must be made of solid, magnetic steel, but one jack screw on the No. 78 car when it was presented for pre-qualifying inspection was hollow.
According to No. 78 crew chief Cole Pearn, the rules infraction was accidental. The team also claimed that the screws were longer than normal and the entire link of the screw was not hollow.
“They caught it in inspection, and we were posted,” Pearn told Motorsport.com
. “It wasn’t intentional by any means. There’s no way you would do it at Talladega. Why would you do it on one side and not the other two if you were going to do it on purpose.”
NASCAR officials would not speculate on penalties the No. 78 team may receive as a result of the infraction.
The Hellmann’s 500 is the Chase for the Sprint Cup second-round elimination race. Truex has not yet won a second-round Chase race, so a penalty, depending on its severity and paired with his Talladega race finish, could end Truex championship chances. The infraction probably will result in a P3 or P4-level penalty that includes a points deduction between 15 and 25 points.
** EDITOR’S NOTE: NASCAR officials have since stated that a points penalty is unlikely.
Three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas — the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin, the No. 18 of Kyle Busch and the No. 20 of Matt Kenseth — also had problems getting through pre-qualifying inspection. The No. 19 of Carl Edwards, though, got through inspection cleanly.