NASCAR explains why they can’t catch everything in pre-race inspection

You ask, ‘Why don’t they disqualify cars after they fail inspection?’ Well, for 2019 NASCAR might start doing just that…

NASCAR issues a spec spoiler and a spec rear deck lid to NASCAR teams. Harvick’s rear deck lid did not meet the specs set out by the rule book.

The team either modified the spec pieces. Or they completely fabricated their own. Either way, the penalty is the same.

Harvick was only penalized 40 points. Yet, he earned 60 in his sweep of the race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Related: Greg Zipadelli says no NASCAR race car is 100% legal

NASCAR points penalties

“We’re looking at a lot of different things in the offseason in regards to the deterrence model,”NASCAR Senior VP of Competition, Scott Miller explained in a teleconference on Wednesday.

“We’ve heard the fans call out, ‘Why don’t you disqualify the offending car?’ That’s actually a topic of discussion along with many other things.”

“Stiffer penalties at the track and for failing inspection. A lot of different things on the table.”

“With any of those, there’s a lot of things to work through. A lot of things to consider. Especially when you get to the disqualification level. There’s a lot of knockoff affects from that as far as how the rest of the field shakes out.”

In this case at Texas, the race winner would have been disqualified. However, the 2nd place car of Ryan Blaney also would have been disqualified. Under a possible system like that, the 3rd place car of Joey Logano might have been declared the winner.

“Deterrence, fines, points and all that stuff is always on our plate during the winter. We always review what has happened in the current race season.”

“We’re always looking to improve that process.”

Kevin Harvick - Homestead-Miami
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 16: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Championship Inspection

In two weeks, NASCAR will head to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the racing season. It’s likely that whoever wins that race will also be declared the champion.

How to you avoid a situation where the race winner at Homestead and NACSAR champion fails post-race inspection?

“Even now, when we’re done to 8 championship competitors, the level of scrutiny to those cars and the amount of time that we spend keeping an eye on everything,” Miller explained.

“We can do and concentrate on those cars a little bit more than the 40 car field during the regular season. We’ll just ramp up the intensity of keeping people with eyes on those cars, throughout the weekend.”

“We scrutinize those cars heavily both before and after the race. It’s unfortunate that we’ll be pulling spoilers off and having to do another inspection.”

“The teams should really be bringing legal cars to the race track. We shouldn’t necessarily do that all the time.”

NASCAR does complete the post-race tear down after Homestead-Miami Speedway. They do the same thing in the Daytona 500. The journey back to the NASCAR R&D Center is skipped.

“Homestead could certainly turn into a Sunday night issue. But, it certainly won’t be the middle of the week.”

“All the stuff with crush panels, leaking air and all the different things that the teams try to manipulate — We can keep eyes on those and see those things quickly during pre-race, post-race and all of those things at Homestead.”

“We feel good about the process.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trailer
FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Crew chiefs stand atop haulers during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
NASCAR Pre-race inspection

Another common comment from NASCAR fans following any penalty announcement is, ‘why didn’t you catch it in pre-race inspection?’

“We certainly can’t bring the 40 car field back to R&D. The situation of, ‘we should catch everything pre-race’. Well, with a 40 car field, we’re under time constraints at the race track to do these inspections.”

“We have small windows and tight windows to get the inspections done. We might spend in the neighborhood of five minutes with each of the 40 cars for the three hour window that we have for inspection.”

“To think that we can scrutinize a car in five minutes as good as we can in three hours at the R&D Center is a bit unrealistic.”

“We are looking at different things for next year. Getting into stiffer consequences for the team for even unloading cars that we see are not legal, in the first round of inspection.”

“We realize that we need to ramp up the severity of what goes on at the race track. We’re hoping that we can change the culture. So, we don’t have to play this cat and mouse game with the teams all the time.”

“We have to make it a little bit more consequence for them. Than just saying, ‘Take that off.’ Take that off, obviously isn’t working anymore.”

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr - Kentucky Speedway garage area
SPARTA, KY – JULY 13: The car of Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Intense Toyota, sits in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 13, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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Kevin Harvick | Stewart-Haas Racing | Texas Motor Speedway | NASCAR