NASCAR further explains the L1 penalty process in regards to Kyle Larson
The media was notified that all cars passed post-race inspection at Talladega; Larson’s car wasn’t taken to the R&D Center but mid-week he was handed an L1 penalty – NASCAR explains the process
At Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR engaged in the typical post-race inspection. In that process, the NASCAR Playoff cars got through an additional line of inspection.
After the race, the media was informed that all cars were clear in post-race technical inspection. From there, multiple cars were taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center.
Kyle Larson was not one of those cars taken back to the R&D Center. However, an L1 penalty was announced on Kyle Larson in the middle of the week.
How does that happen?
“What we do is when we finish the at-track inspection we let you all know that it’s clear for the at-track inspection,” Managing director for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Richard Buck explained on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.
“Then, we go back to the R&D Center. There may be developing issues or more inspections. That’s what took place last week. We took the piece back to the R&D Center for the #42.”
“Our rule’s very specific on the DVP. The damaged vehicle policy is a collective effort from the industry. It was heavily weighed upon by the teams and the owners.”
“It’s very strict and detailed rules. If you have a panel or a piece. The piece can be replaced in it’s original position. It can only be re-attached by bare bond, tape or fasteners which is screws or rivets.”
“We don’t allow brackets, panels or flanges. On the #42, they had an issue with the tire. They proceeded to cut the fender off. They went back out and met minimum speed.”
At this point, the time is no longer on the damage vehicle clock. Teams are allowed 6 minutes to make repairs to fix their cars following a crash. They then get three laps to make minimum speed. Larson had already met minimum speed.
“They decided to straighten the fender out, the piece they cut off. Then, they re-attached it with two aluminum tabs. That’s where the infraction was, attaching it with the tabs.”
Why did the part need to be inspected it was a clear violation?
“That’s our process. It’s been consistent. We won’t make a decision on that immediately at the race track.”
“We’ll take it back to the R&D Center, do the research on it and make sure.”
“There’s a lot of moving parts and we want to get it right.”
What if an official saw them put the tabs on?
How would that work? Given the rule is clear, would Larson have to stop on pit road until the part was removed. Would the official make them wait?
“Our officials are challenged with multiple tasks on pit road. If they do see something, they will try to help the teams out. They’ll try to inform the teams.”
“But, understand we’re not like other sports. We can’t call a timeout.”
“The teams know the rules. In fact, the week prior to that, I went ahead and sent out a memo. Which was just a reminder of the DVP. That went to all the crew chiefs, all the car chiefs, team mangers and technical directors.”
Why does NASCAR have a damaged vehicle policy?
“This is a collective effort from the garage. The weighed in heavily and with some very strong opinions.”
“I was driven two-fold. It was driven by cost and also by safety.”
What costs you ask? These teams had frame straighten machines. They had saws. The had a lot of equipment to bring to the race track just in the case of a crash.
In addition, they brought the human power to work those machines. Glorified damage specialists were at the race track just to fix cars. That’s a lot of expense just to finish 40 laps down instead of 80.
“In an effort to contain the cost and keep it reasonable. Also safety, a car that’s repaired very quickly in the garage area is not always as safe as the one you bring to the race track.”
Chip Ganassi Racing appealed that penalty. A rush appeal was held and the penalty was upheld. The team elected to appeal again and take it to the final appeals officer, they failed that appeal as well.
Larson lost his car chief following qualifying at Kansas Speedway. Larson would go on to finish 3rd over the weekend. However, he has missed the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs.