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NASCAR Truck: ThorSport Racing request falls on deaf ears

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 09: Grant Enfinger, driver of the #98 ThorSport Racing/Curb Records Ford, stands by his truck during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 09, 2019 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)


During the near month-long break in the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series schedule, ThorSport Racing sent a letter to NASCAR requesting that Johnny Sauter and Grant Enfinger have their playoff eligibility reinstated. Sauter and Enfinger, both ThorSport drivers, were the two drivers eliminated from the playoffs after engine failures in the Sept. 13 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the most recent race on the series schedule and the playoff round-one elimination race.

“We feel the right thing for us is we were never allowed to race at Vegas for the playoff positions,” ThorSport Racing General Manager David Pepper said, as quoted by NBC Sports. “We’re not asking to reset Vegas. We’ll take our last-place finishes. We’re just asking to move the cutoff date to Phoenix; eliminate four of us instead of two (after Vegas) and two (after Phoenix). Allow it to be settled on the race track and not by an outside source that has openly said, ‘Hey, we made a mistake.’ I don’t want to beat on them. They made a mistake, but we shouldn’t be the victims of the mistake.”

NASCAR turned down down ThorSport’s request. The second round will kick off, as planned, with six drivers Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The idea presented by by ThorSport in its letter had all eight playoff drivers advancing to the second round, with four eliminated in the season’s penultimate race at ISM (formerly-Phoenix International) Raceway instead of two, so that the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month would still feature four championship contenders.

Illmor Engineering, the company that manufactures the spec engines used in the Truck Series has accepted responsibility for multiple engine failures in the Las Vegas race.

“Ilmor Engineering is committed to our partnership with NASCAR and to the long-term development of the NT1 engine,” Illmoor Engineering President Paul Ray said. “To that end, following the issues experienced by a number of different teams and competitors during the Sept. 13 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, engines were returned to the NASCAR R&D Center for technical inspection and data review. The combination of the high engine load condition combined with the extreme weather conditions in Las Vegas resulted in some engines suffering severe detonation. Ilmor is taking new measures in engine calibration to ensure to this situation is corrected for all future races. We deeply regret the impact that the engine issues created for our NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series partners. We have requested every engine that raced at the Las Vegas event be returned to our technical facility in Plymouth, Mich. All the engines will be disassembled and inspected by our highly experienced team. Any damage as a result of the Las Vegas event will be corrected and the engine returned to the race teams as soon as required.”

In all, five teams, including three from ThorSport Racing experience problems with their engines at LVMS. ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton also experienced trouble with his engine but managed to barely make the cut into the second round of the playoffs.

“It’s just a shame our season hopes come down to qualify control on a spec part that we had nothing to do with,” Enfinger, who was the 2019 Truck Series regular-season champion, said. “I definitely share our owner’s frustration with the parts.”

After Illmor released its statement, admitting responsibility for the engine failures, NASCAR commended the engine builder on its ownership of the problem but stopped short of putting Sauter and Enfinger back into the playoffs.

“We commend Illmor Engineering for their thorough review and the forthright way they’ve claimed ownership of the engine issues suffered by teams during the Sept. 13 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The NT1 engine has played a vital role in the health of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and that’s been evident in the tremendous competition we’ve seen all season. We’re confident that will continue in the years ahead.”

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Posted by on October 11, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series,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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