CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR officials are not expected to "regulate" post-race celebrations following events, calling the long, smoky burnouts done by many race winners a part of the sport today and something that fans have come to expect.
"Post-race burnouts have been a part of the sport for a long time as they give the winning driver the opportunity to express their enthusiasm for their win and give fans an exclamation point to the victory," NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp told NASCAR.com Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, site of Saturday's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m., NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
"We don't really see them being anything beyond that."
Concerns about intentionally damaging a race-winning car came to light this week after defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick made contact with the inside wall while celebrating his victory in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Harvick led 355 of the race's 400 laps to advance into the Contender Round of this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Two days after the victory, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said he wasn't aware that the back end of his No. 4 Chevrolet had hit the inside wall during his Dover celebration.
His car passed post-race inspection at the track, as well as a more thorough inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center two days later.
"That's what you're supposed to do," Harvick said when asked about comments that he had purposely damaged his vehicle to avoid the prying eyes of NASCAR officials. "You're supposed to try to create commotion.
"I don't remember even actually hitting the wall. I remember the tires blowing out, but I don't know if I actually even hit the wall."
"But obviously, as all the other competitors, whoever doesn't win each week wants to make sure they're on a level playing field with whoever did win," Hamlin said.
Former series champion Brad Keselowski said intentionally damaging a winning car has "been going on for a long time."
"I'm not making any accusations," he said. "It's not anything new to this sport."
On Thursday, crew chief Rodney Childers said he wasn't surprised that some had seized on something so innocent after his driver's strong performance. He also once again stressed that his team's cars had been to the R&D center more than any other vehicles this season without officials uncovering any irregularities.
The No. 4 team has made 14 trips to the center for final inspection this season and passed on each occasion.
NASCAR officials transport the winning and second-place entries, as well as a random selection, to the center following each race where engines, fuel cells and other pieces (such as transmissions) are removed and more closely inspected.
A computerized device known as a Romer Absolute Arm, the same equipment used to certify each chassis before competition, is used to check each piece for any changes or any inconsistencies.