News & Media

Dillon, Stewart have qualifying time disallowed

July 06, 2012, David Caraviello,

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The qualifying times of Nationwide rookie Austin Dillon and reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart were each disallowed by NASCAR on Friday, forcing both drivers to start from the back of the field in their respective races at Daytona International Speedway.

The qualifying times were disallowed for the same violation, according to NASCAR -- an open cooling hose found under the cockpit. The infractions violate the part of the rule book pertaining to permissible duct work and are thought to have provided the cars with an aerodynamic advantage. Further penalties are possible for both early next week.

Dillon won the Nationwide pole with a speed of 177.340 mph, edging Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the top spot. Shortly after that session ended, NASCAR announced that the time for the No. 3 car had been disallowed and that Stenhouse Jr. would become the pole winner of record. Dillon will start Friday night's event 42nd in the 43-car field.

Stewart qualified second for Saturday's Cup race, behind pole winner Matt Kenseth, with a speed of 192.361 mph. After the session ended, NASCAR announced that Stewart's time also had been disallowed, moving Ryan Newman, Stewart's teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, to the front row. Stewart now will start 42nd in the 43-car field.

Later Friday, Stewart issued a statement through his team's Twitter feed. "It's just one of those things. It wasn't intentional and we weren't trying to gain an advantage. The cap just fell off during the run and that's a violation, so we're serving the penalty. It's not ideal to start in the back, but there are a lot worse places to have to start from [than] the rear, too."

It marked the second consecutive week that Dillon's car has run afoul of the NASCAR rule book. He was docked six points on Tuesday after the rear of his car was found to be too low in inspection following his victory June 29 at Kentucky Speedway. The penalty cost Dillon the series lead, which he had taken from Richard Childress Racing teammate Elliott Sadler after the win.

Crew chief Danny Stockman Jr. said Thursday that the Kentucky violation occurred because the team mistakenly used an incorrect bolt that was vibrated loose by the rough track surface during the event. "We'll be paying attention to the details a little bit more," he said then.

NASCAR often takes a hard line on any violations that are perceived to give a car an aerodynamic advantage at Daytona. Chad Knaus, crew chief for five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, was suspended six races after inspectors determined that the C-posts on the No. 48 car were modified to give the vehicle an aerodynamic edge for the Daytona 500. That suspension was later overturned by the sport's chief appellate officer.