The Teardown

The Teardown: buck stops with the chief

March 10, 2014, Brad Parrott, Special to,

Crew chief Brad Parrott on racing within the rules

Editor's note: Crew chief Brad Parrott, a 19-time winner in NASCAR national series competition, has joined as a guest writer for the 2014 season. Here is his first-person analysis of possible infractions after Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series' Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

RELATED: Boyd Gaming 300 results

Two post-race penalties put a slight damper on a win from Brad Keselowski and a career-best fifth place from rookie Chase Elliott in Saturday's race from Las Vegas. Now here's what happens next.

NASCAR officials confiscated the right-rear shock off Keselowski's Team Penske Ford after the race. The Nationwide Series has a firm, 175-pound gas pressure rule. They'll bring the part back and dissect that pressure with a gauge they have at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C., making sure that gas pressure is 175 pounds or under. They will also tear the shock apart to make sure it has the correct and approved parts in it.

If a shock has more than the approved gas pressure, it holds the rear spoiler up in the air more so that a car has more downforce. It also can help the compression in the shock itself.

The Nationwide Series also has a board listing that you can only run so many shock parts in the series. Some rules prohibit teams from running specific parts to keep any one car from getting an advantage.

With Elliott's No. 9 JR Motorsports car measuring too low in the front, that's a straightforward penalty right off the box. They almost certainly will get a points penalty and a fine because you have to meet minimum height requirements in the Nationwide Series.

Having a car lower helps to keep the nose sealed off to the race track. You're allowed a 3/8-inch tolerance at the end of the race and they were under. That's all based off the type of spring they were running.

It's honestly not a pushing-the-limit thing from crew chiefs trying to push the envelope, it's a wear-and-tear thing over the course of the race where the spring lost some height. It simply lost too much travel.

At the end of the day, though, like it says in the rulebook: everything under the car and the crew members' actions are ultimately the crew chief's responsibility.


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