Steve O’Donnell: “If you want to push the envelope it comes with consequences in terms of missing qualifying.”
Sunday’s race saw multiple issues with the new mandated pit guns.
These guns are standard for every team. They are handed out an hour before each race. On paper, they should be identical. That’s certainly the whole idea.
But, as we found out, that wasn’t the case. Both Martin Truex Jr and the team of Kevin Harvick fell victim to a failed air gun. Harvick was the leader at the time. He was forced to return to put lane for a tightening of the lugs then re-joined the field at the rear.
I heard reports of other failed guns over the weekend as well. But, I have no proof of those because I can’t relocate where I heard that.
“It’s something we’re gunna review,” Steve O’Donnell told The Morning Drive on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“Obviously, we never want to see any failures, with any part or piece. We knew going in that this could potentially happen. The likelihood of it happening at some point in the season was fairly high”
“We’re going to have those conversations and get it right. It was an initiative that we worked closely with the teams on. We never want to see a part or piece malfunction. We want it to be in the hands of the drivers and the race teams.”
“That’s something we take very seriously. We’ll have that dialogue this week, head to Vegas and hopefully get that cleaned up.”
Both of these drivers rebounded from their pit gun failures. Kevin Harvick was back in the lead about 20 laps later.
The new guns are manufactured by Paoli. They aren’t new to motorsports. This is a very reputable company who has earned the trust of F1 teams who budget $500,000,000 (no typo) for their seasons. NASCAR on the other hand, is new for them. There’s a few bugs to work out.
Pit guns aside, Furniture Row Racing also had issues with the new NASCAR inspection station. The team never made it to the track for qualifying as they couldn’t get through inspection.
Several failures later, the team was down a man. Car chief Blake Harris was ejected from the speedway due to multiple failed attempts. On top of that penalty, Truex would start 35th.
NASCAR has a brand new inspection station. I’m still not sure what optical means. It’s very sci-fi space age looking disco tent. But, it’s a few other things as well…
“It’s a lot more efficient. I think it’s been put back on the race teams now.”
“You know, we were on our heels a little bit in the past. With, ‘Oh, your inspection process doesn’t work.’ ”
“I think it’s got confidence in the garage that… this does work. It’s where we’re going in the future.”
“It’s back on the race teams. You know, if you want to push the envelope it comes with consequences in terms of missing qualifying.”
Martin Truex Jr was the car to miss qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway. They failed 3 times and elected not to make a fourth attempt.
“We never want to see that. But, I think everybody thinks this is a really fair system. We’re very happy with it. We’ll certainly make some adjustments as we learn and go through the year.”
“We’re happy that it’s not necessarily the story every weekend and we want to continue that.”
Martin Truex Jr rebounded to finish in the top 5.
Related: NASCAR announces penalty to #78 team