NASCAR inspection issues explained from the the crew chief’s perspective
NASCAR introduced a new inspection system over the off-season. In short, it’s teching the cars to a degree that hasn’t been seen before. The margins for error is smaller than ever.
At Auto Club Speedway, 13 cars failed to make it to the track for qualifying. However, several more cars than that failed their first pass through the inspection tent. Having that many cars backed up the line. Which only creates more issues.
Auto Club Speedway wasn’t the first time the tech line backed up and forced cars to miss qualifying. It’s actually been a recurring theme for the last few years.
“We can’t do any more than what we’re doing. You do every thing you possibly can, every week, to pass tech,” #78 crew chief Cole Pearn states after the win at Auto Club Speedway.
“That’s the first goal of everything. When things don’t go your way and you struggle with somethin’ and you fail — It’s so unintentional.”
They tried a new rule for NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying the following day. If one of those teams failed inspection and failed to turn a lap in qualifying they would be penalized double. In addition to starting in the back, failure to turn a qualifying lap would also net a green flag pass-through penalty at the start of the race, lap 1.
NASCAR is exploring various options. At the time, Cole Pearn wasn’t aware of NASCAR dropping pre-qualifying tech. But, it was expected that same penalty would come to the MENCS this weekend.
“Now, you’re just going to get penalized more. But, your intent’s still the same.”
“It’s a really difficult position the teams are in. Cause at the end of the day, I think what happened on Friday is a lot of teams had issues. Just because a lot of teams had issues, guys that really had small issues had trouble getting through.”
“I look at the #18. They only failed one time and they barely made qualifying, passing the second time.”
“You’re so dictated by how many other people fail whether you’re going to have tie to get through other times. It’s just hard.”
“The level of detail that they’re inspecting the cars at is so small. You’re doing everything you possibly can. It’s just that there’s error in what we do. We’re not perfect.”
“We’re slowly trying to get it figured out. Especially with the new system, it’s really difficult.”
NASCAR is trying a new inspection order this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Pre-qualifying tech has been removed. In addition, post-qualifying inspection and pre-race inspection will be combined. Three inspections have been lumped together.
In turn, this means we will no longer have issues with teams missing qualifying due to tech lines. If a team fails post-qualifying inspection, their time will simply be disallowed.