The deadline for Joe Gibbs Racing to file an appeal over the disqualifications to the Nos. 11 and 18 cars at Pocono Raceway has passed with no appeal filed Monday.
Denny Hamlin was stripped of the race win, and Kyle Busch was disqualified from a runner-up place when NASCAR found material on the front facia of their cars. NASCAR officials tear down the top two finishers each weekend during post-race inspection, which includes the standard procedure of taking the wraps off the cars in areas officials deem critical.
The violations on the Hamlin and Busch cars were found during that process on Sunday night.
With no appeal on the books, Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, made an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to further explain the situation. He said officials had no prior indication that something was wrong with the cars and were “very surprised” by what they found during inspection.
“It was on the lower fascia, which is the bottom part of the nose that attaches to the splitter,” Miller explained. “It was extra layers of vinyl that in effect deviated the part from the approved CAD files.”
Miller did not want to speculate on the intent of Joe Gibbs Racing in putting the material there. However, the belief is that it would affect the cars’ aerodynamics.
Joe Gibbs fields four cars, but only Hamlin and Busch were inspected because they finished in the top five. The other Gibbs cars were not looked at, and NASCAR has no plans to do so, given the penalty.
“We can’t inspect the entire field at that level of scrutiny or we’d be there until about Wednesday or Thursday,” Miller said. “Our procedure is to take the first- and second-place car and a random car… and do that post-race tear down on them. The top five cars all go through an inspection process – back through the OSS, make sure the alignment is correct… and a visual inspection of the outside of the car to make sure nothing has been pushed, prodded or added. The top five cars are always inspected, but the top two go through the complete teardown process at the racetrack.’”
Chase Elliott, who crossed the finish line third, inherited the win. Elliott’s car went through the standard top-five inspection process but did not go through a teardown, having already been released back to the team by the time NASCAR disqualified the Gibbs cars.
“I’m not even sure if that transporter was still on the premises when we did that, but that car’s inspection was completed in the top five inspection,” Miller said.
A statement from Wally Brown, the director of competition at Joe Gibbs Racing, read: “In our review of the post-race infractions on the 11 and 18 cars at Pocono, it was discovered that a single piece of clear tape was positioned over each of the lower corners of the front fascia ahead of the left-front and right-front wheel openings on both those cars. The added pieces were two inches wide and five-and-a-half inches long with a thickness of 0.012 inches and installed under the wrap. This change in our build process was not properly vetted within our organization, and we recognize it is against NASCAR’s rules. We apologize to everyone for this mistake, and we have made changes to our processes to ensure that it does not happen again.”