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NASCAR teams with ‘illegal’ cars need wake-up call

Until yesterday, I was on board with the whole “encumbered” win thing. I was okay with drivers not being stripped of wins after rules infractions, as long as they couldn’t use the win to get into the playoffs, they lost points, etc., but after the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway weekend during which Denny Hamlin won both races with what turned out to be “illegal” cars, I’m seriously reconsidering my stance.

Before, one of the reasons I was against stripping wins was because of the cars not discovered to be illegal until the tear-down inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center and not all cars in the field undergo that sort of post-race inspection. That wouldn’t be a feasible expectation. First and second-place cars are torn down, along with a random car. What if the top-two are both illegal? How would we know the third-place car, the new winner if the top-two are disqualified in the case of win-stripping?

Do the folks at the R&D Center have enough time in the week for one more teardown? I’d be all for the top-three being torn down, along with the random and NASCAR stripping wins if cars don’t pass the thorough inspection process. After all,  what’s the likelihood of all three of the top-three finishers being “illegal?” And if they are, the fourth one, too?

Or maybe NASCAR could take the top-three and just tear down the third one if both the first and second somehow fail their inspections. Besides, after a couple or so wins are stripped, this may stop.

According to the powers that be at Joe Gibbs Racing, the team was just off on its measurements. Really?!? On two cars in two different series? And this is the second encumbered win for that Xfinity Series team this year. Maybe JGR needs to look into its measuring equipment or the folks doing the measurement. Seriously, I think this is a matter of a team getting too close to the edge of the allowable tolerance.

I’d be more sympathetic to the team cries of cars following out of tolerance by a normal racing environment if the rule just stated an exact measurement with now tolerance, but that’s not the case. These teams have a window within to work. It’s not NASCAR’s fault that teams are setting up their cars too close to the outer edge of the tolerance, so it’s time to stop blaming NASCAR for failed measurements.

After all, NASCAR doesn’t receive overwhelming blame on speeding penalties, because teams have a five mph allowance beyond the posted speed limit. Well, folks, these same teams also have tolerances beyond the expected measurements.

Obviously, the current penalty structure isn’t working, especially for Cup drivers in Xfinity Series races, or at least not for JGR. As I mentioned before, Saturday’s race at Darlington produced Hamlin’s second “encumbered” Xfinity win of the season. And why should the current penalty work? After all, Hamlin’s not running for points or a shot at the Xfinity Series playoffs, anyway. He just wants the win, there, and he still has those two wins.

As for the Cup Series, Hamlin is already in the playoffs because of a previous “legal” win.

On the bright side, I guess “encumbering” wins works in some cases. I’m guessing Joey Logano and the No. 22 Cup team learned their lesson. After all, they have a win and it looks like they’ll be on the outside looking in come playoff time, anyway — unless they win at Richmond on Saturday night.

I say, let’s strip the win completely — no money, no trophy, no points, no recognition in the history book for winning said race. Speaking of wins — according to Dave Moody math — Hamlin still got the equivalent of 10th-place points after his points deduction with his “illegal” Cup car. Just doesn’t seem fair; does it?

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 September 7, 2017. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,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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