The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team has been disqualified after post-race inspection; Team and NASCAR EVP comment
On Sunday, NASCAR returned to Nashville, TN to put on a show in front of a sold out crowd. It was the first time the NASCAR Cup Series took the green at the 1.333-mile of Nashville Superspeedway.
Hendrick Motorsports returned to domination. Kyle Larson drove to the win after leading most of the race. The No. 5 car cleared inspection and is officially declared the race win.
Chase Elliott won stage one after getting off-cycle on pit stops. He drove his HMS machine to a 13th place finish.
However, after the race, NASCAR officials check every car for loose lug nuts. They found five loose lugs on Elliott’s car.
Per the rules, Chase Elliott was disqualified from the event. That includes a loss of all stage points.
The No. 19 of Martin Truex Jr was also found to have a loose lug nut after the event.
Chad Knaus comments
“It’s unfortunate. The lug nuts on the No. 9 were loose at the end of the race,” said Chad Knaus, vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports.
“At the end of the race Chase had a vibration. There were quite a few tire issues through the course of the day so they were hopeful that it was just a cord or something in the tire that was creating the vibration so they chose to run the race out.”
Scott Miller comments
Scott Miller was asked if the domination by Hendrick Motorsports heightens the inspection process for the team.
“It does, both externally and internally,” Miller told SiriusXM.
“We certainly want to make sure we’re not missing something in our process, so not that we don’t look hard at every single car that comes through there, but when you start to have a dominant team, definitely the lens gets focused a little bit more on the microscope. You think back to a year ago, or even two years ago, I mean we had a run there where nobody could come close to JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and they finished with all cars in the top five many, many times. Same kind of thing, right?
“I don’t know what it is in racing, but it seems to go in cycles with these teams, but really to answer your question: Yes, certainly we look hard at all the cars, but when you start to have a team being very dominant, certainly it’s just natural to make sure that you aren’t missing anything there.”
Chase Elliott was found in violation of NASCAR rule 126.96.36.199.4. The minimum safety requirements note that if three or more lug nuts are found after the race it’s an automatic disqualification.
“It was a DQ, and it’s spelled out well in the rule book,” Miller said.
“There were five lug nuts on the car loose, and that’s a safety infraction. How that happened is always a debate, but it’s really in the rule book to make sure that all the lug nuts get hit on pit road, because we did a couple of years ago go through a rash of people purposely not hitting all the lug nuts, which was very, very unsafe.”
He concluded, “So the rule’s in there for that, and they just had too many lug nuts loose at the end of the race. Unfortunate situation for everyone, but very, very clear and very well spelled out.”