NASCAR penalized Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Sprint Cup team as a result of rule infractions discovered during post-race inspection following the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway. Kyle Busch’s No. 18 failed post-race inspection because of a height issue on the left-front end.
The M&Ms Toyota Camry was found to be too low during the inspection following the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono. The car was inspected three times.
NASCAR determined that the car was in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1B (body height requirements — car failed to meet the minimum front car heights) of the 2011 rule book.
Dave Rogers, crew chief of the No. 18 team, was fined $25,000, while owner Joe Gibbs and Busch have been penalized with the loss of six owner and six driver points, respectively.
Before the penalty was announced, Rogers said the car was 1/16th of an inch outside of NASCAR’s allowed tolerances. Rogers thought that a broken part may have caused the car to fail, as it passed pre-race inspection.
It’s disappointing. I can’t tell you a whole lot right now. We sit on bump stops in these race cars. Your springs often don’t damage. We were struggling all weekend and we went back to what we raced last spring when we finished second. We put the same package in — same front shocks, same front springs. We went through tech just fine last year, but obviously everything has a year on it and everything is mileaged out. I don’t have any excuses for you. It’s the last thing I expected after the race.
Rogers said that the fender was damaged from bottoming out during the race. Busch also got into the wall, which caused more damage. Still, it’s not clear that any of that had to do with the car being too low.
There is plenty of body damage, but nothing that I could look at and say, “Hey, NASCAR, here’s a problem.”
After the penalty was announced, JGR issued a statement:
We brought the No. 18 car back to our race shop and have identified the problem which caused us to measure low during the post-race inspection process in Pocono [Sunday] afternoon. We have made NASCAR aware of our findings and we accept the penalty they have issued.