NASCAR Cup Series managing director Richard Buck clarified Saturday morning what caused the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team to be penalized after last weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.
A playoff contender, the costly part of Kyle Larson’s penalty was being docked 10 driver and owner points. NASCAR stated the team used unapproved metal tabs to repair the car after Larson had blown a tire and damaged a fender on Lap 105. The team lost both its appeals of the penalty and so Larson is now 36 points below a transfer spot into the Round of 8 going into the elimination race Sunday afternoon. He is 11th on the playoff grid.
“One of the rules that was a part of this process was that on the Damaged Vehicle Policy if you have a panel or a piece, the piece can be replaced in its original position only and it can only be re-attached by bear bond, tape or fasteners, which is screws or rivets,” Buck explained at Kansas Speedway. “So it’s very clear. We don’t allow any other brackets or panels or flanges or any of that type of stuff. On the 42, they had an issue with a tire, it damaged the fender, they proceeded to cut the fender off. They went back out, they met the minimum speed for the Damaged Vehicle Policy, so they weren’t on the clock.
“They decided to straighten the fender out, the piece that they had cut off. They straightened that out and then they re-attached it with two aluminum tabs, two tabs on each one. That’s where the infraction was, attaching them with the tabs.”
Larson’s car was not one of those taken to the R&D Center last week, so Buck revealed the infraction was found post-race, and the pieces used were taken from the car after the race. Once in NASCAR’s possession, officials took them to the R&D Center for further examination and research.
NASCAR officials try to let teams know if they are breaking a rule as incidents happen, but officials on pit road are often handling multiple tasks, and Buck said NASCAR is not like other sports where a timeout can be called. However, Buck noted that the week before Talladega, he once again sent out a reminder to teams about the Damaged Vehicle Policy, something he says he often does.
“I sent out a memo, which was exactly that — a reminder of the DVP, we cut and pasted that right out of the rule book,” Buck said. “And that went to all the crew chiefs, all the car chiefs, team managers and technical directors just as a reminder of the rule.”