Jimmie Johnson’s car chief has been ejected from Las Vegas just minutes ahead of the NASCAR race
More inspection issues for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series division.
NASCAR officials said Sunday that the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet for driver Jimmie Johnson has failed pre-race inspection three times at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Competition officials have ejected car chief Jesse Saunders before the start of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Under the new deterrence guidelines in the NASCAR Rule Book, the crew member is selected at NASCAR’s discretion after a third inspection failure.
The Premium Motorsports No. 15 Chevrolet for driver Ross Chastain also failed pre-race inspection three times, resulting in an ejection for car chief Lee Leslie ahead of the third race of the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“From my own standards, we aren’t getting the results that we want. We know we’re not where we want to be but we’re leaning in on each other harder than ever,” Johnson told FOX Sports moments ahead of the green flag.
“We’ve improved every time we’ve been on track this week. We’re learning a lot about this new Camaro. It’s just going to take some work.”
How will the ejection effect Johnson’s race?
“I’m not sure. I’ve never been in this situation. Last week, there were some teams that had this same thing take place. They still had good finishes. Any race team out here is bigger than one person. Jesse’s not going to be with us today. But, we have a lot of people that are very talented to fill in the void.”
Jimmie Johnson will start 14th in just a few moments at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Chastain will start 33rd.
Previous inspection issues
Last week, the ejection didn’t take place on race day. It happened the day before the race before qualifying.
Atlanta Motor Speedway saw an ejection of a crew member. Martin Truex Jr failed inspection 3 times ahead of qualifying.
The team elected not to attempt a 4th attempt. If they failed a 4th time, crew chief Cole Pearn would have been ejected.
To me, these are both good things. In the past, they likely would have been caught in violation after the race. Now, NASCAR is catching them before they ever touch the track.
Previously, catching these things after the race would have resulted in an encumbered finish. In 2018, the term encumbered has been dropped from the NASCAR rulebook.