Johnny Sauter was disqualified from Atlanta Motor Speedway for violating a tire modification rule
On Saturday, the NASCAR Truck Series took the green flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The track is one of the oldest racing surfaces on the schedule. It makes for great racing. But, it makes for extreme tire wear as well.
In year’s past, teams have discovered ways of letting air out of a tire during the course of a run. A bleeder valve of sorts. Though, it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a valve.
This keeps the pressure from building up in the tire. This is especially needed during long runs, such as the longest stage (stage 3).
NASCAR has come up with a solution to policing this. For time to time, officials will collect a set of tires during a race then dunk them in a pool of water. Air bubbles are a sign of a clear violation.
NASCAR collected three sets of tires during stage three of the NASCAR Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnny Sauter was found to be in violation of rule 20.16.2.f.
Sauter finished 17th in the event. However, he will be credited with a 40th place run (last) following a disqualification from the event.
ThorSport Racing has the option to appeal the penalty on the No 13 truck.
ThorSport Racing also fields the truck of Grant Enfinger, who took the win on Saturday afternoon. Enfinger did clear post-race inspection and has been declared the official winner.
NASCAR comments on the tire violation
“From time to time, we impound tires during the race,” Brad Moran, managing director of the Ganders Outdoors & RV Truck Series stated.
“Unfortunately, the 13 truck had an issue, one of their tires did not pass out at-track inspection. We do it in all three series. It led to a violation, 20.16.2.”
“Basically, no treatment or no modifications of any kind.”
How did NASCAR find this?
“There was no tip-off. We randomly chose one Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota. They were all very close to each other on pit road.”
“It makes it easy to manage it. To have our officials get to all three sets fairly quickly. Basically, confiscate them and keep our eyes on them. We take them and have an official stay with them.”
“It was certainly not a tip-off. It was one set of tires from all three OEM’s. It’s during the race and we chose to do it in the last stage, where there’s a long green flag run.”
“They go in a dunk drank. We are looking for certain things that could be letting air out in different ways. There’s many different methods and ways. Unfortunately, we just found a tire that didn’t pass the test.”
NASCAR tire modification penalty
Modifying tires can bring an L2 penalty. That brings a 75 point penalty and a 4 week crew chief suspension in addition to a fine.
However, 18.104.22.168.2 allows NASCAR to move any L1 or L2 penalties discovered during the race to an alternative race disqualification. Basically, the disqualification replaces the typical fines and/or suspension penalty.
“No further penalties,” Moran confirmed.