Drivers: No surprise in roof-flap no-call
July 13, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
NASCAR lauded for opting against penalties for 31 teams
LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers did not seem surprised that no fines or penalties were handed down after officials confiscated unapproved roof flap spacers from 31 teams July 4 at Daytona International Speedway.
Officials seized the unapproved parts from 16 Cup teams before opening practice, and 15 Nationwide teams following that series' first on-track session.
“I think obviously it’s a unique situation with so many teams getting involved,” Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “If it was something that was really going to matter, I think it probably would have been a different situation. It sounds like it didn’t even really matter.”
Harvick and his RCR Cup teammates Jeff Burton and Paul Menard were not among those found with the unapproved spacers. The No. 3 NNS team of driver Austin Dillon was also in compliance.
The roof flaps engage when air pressure builds inside the car’s cockpit. Installation kits that are provided with the flaps by an outside vendor include the approved spacers, which support the hinge bar of the flaps.
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said officials determined the use of the spacers did not compromise the “functionality and safety aspects of the roof flap,” and on-track competition “would not be impacted.”
Spacers were confiscated from the following Cup teams: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (No. 1); Richard Petty Motorsports (Nos. 9, 43); Germain Racing (No. 13); Roush Fenway Racing (Nos. 16, 17, 99); Penske Racing (Nos. 2, 22); Joe Gibbs Racing (Nos. 11, 18, 20); Wood Brothers Racing (No. 21); and Michael Waltrip Racing (Nos. 15, 55, 56).
Defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who has lost 31 driver points this season for two separate infractions, said he felt NASCAR officials “nailed this one” with the decision to not penalize teams.
“I stand by what I said before about how the situation was handled,” the Penske Racing driver said. At Daytona, Keselowski said the parts in question were replaced and were not used in race conditions.
“I think that’s the way they were more traditionally done over the last 10 or 15 years, and I think that model served the sport fairly well,” he said at the time.
The decision was also good news for Martin Truex Jr., one of those whose team was affected. Truex also said the number of teams involved likely impacted the decision.
“When you see 31 teams in two garages -- there’s probably some miscommunication there, you know?” the MWR driver said. “Usually, if you have a couple of guys with some parts that are illegal, it’s different. I wasn’t surprised (at the decision) at all.”
“I was obviously happy there were no point penalties. We're already had one of those this year, so (I’m) glad they got it fixed and hopefully we won't see that problem again."
Truex was docked six points when his No. 56 Toyota failed post-race inspection for a height violation at Texas earlier this year.