After finishing third in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11, Martin Truex Jr’s number 78 car failed to pass the laser inspection station in post-race inspection.
As a result of the failure, Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn, was fined $15,000, Truex was docked 10 driver points, and team owner Furniture Row Racing was docked 10 points. The points were subtracted before the field was set for The Chase with all of the bonus points. Truex also failed the laser inspection in pre-qualifying inspection twice.
In other penalties…
The number seven car driven by Regan Smith lost 15 minutes of practice at Chicagoland and was given a written warning for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection three times at Richmond.
The number 18 car of Kyle Busch was given a written warning for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection twice.
The number 16 of Greg Biffle was given a written warning for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection twice.
The number 22 of Joey Logano was given a written warning for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection twice.
The laser inspection station has proved to be a major problem for NASCAR drivers this year. NASCAR has tightened the penalties for failing the laser inspection station for The Chase, as well as the post-race lug nut inspection.
Beginning with the Sprint Cup number one Chase race at Chicagoland, teams who fail the LIS inspection will be assessed a loss of 35 driver and owner points with the crew chief being suspended for three races and will be issued a $65,000 fine for the first infraction. For the Xfinity Series, the fine will be $20,000. The Camping World Truck Series has no laser inspection.
For lug nut infractions, NASCAR has upped the suspensions and fines to equal those for the LIS inspection failure.
The new rules also allows NASCAR to assess additional penalties tied to The Chase race itself by denying an automatic advancement or affect tiebreakers.
Speaking on the rule changes, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said,
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“The changes are made to assure that we have a level playing field and make sure that there’s not a carrot out there for the team to have excessive violations when it comes to lug nuts and the LIS post-race measurements. As we worked with those penalties during the season we realized we probably needed to have a little bit more in place as Chase time rolled around.
The Chase obviously changes a lot of scenarios for both NASCAR and the teams; it’s ramped up the intensity and there is a lot of scrutiny, as there is every week on everything (involving) technical infractions. This is really just a matter of us putting something in place so that should something happen, we have a means to effectively deal with it.”