By AMANDA VINCENT
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series may be facing punishment from NASCAR in the next week, as the sanctioning body investigates possible illegal modification of the car’s side skirts during a pit stop in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
During the most recent offseason, NASCAR announced that teams could no longer manipulate the side skirts on their cars during races to increase downforce. The announcement was a warning teams that if they were caught pulling out side skirts during pit stops, they may face penalties.
The practice of pulling out side skirts became somewhat common during the 2014 season. In January, though, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said the practice of flaring the side skirts would be policed “by any means possible” during the 2015 season.
According to a story on NASCAR.com announcing the move to eliminate the practice, NASCAR Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton, the sanctioning body opted not to penalize teams for the flared skirts last season because a lack of desire to change how policing was done during the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship postseason.
“We knew at the end of the year there was work to do on our part in how we policed it in 2015,” Pemberton said.
NASCAR penalties are normally announced on Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday.
Johnson, a four-time winner of NASCAR’s All-Star Race, finished 15th out of 20 drivers Saturday night.
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