Truex Jr.’s win marred by second LIS violation, Johnson also fails

Photos by Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

JOLIET, Ill. – Martin Truex Jr. overcame a couple of tough breaks, including being roughed up by Kevin Harvick and cut tire, in winning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway but it’s what happened after the race that will sting when NASCAR hands out penalties later in the week.

In customary fashion, NASCAR took Truex’s winning car to post-race inspection, running it through the height sticks and the Laser Inspection System. The car made the height requirement just fine but when it hit the LIS thins went south. According to NASCAR’s high-tech equipment, the car was out of tolerance – and it was the second time in as many weeks for the No. 78 Toyota.

img_1866Last week’s penalty drew a $15,000 fine for Crew Chief Cole Pearn and a 10-point deduction in owner and driver points. But despite Pearn saying they played it “conservative” the car, again failed post-race LIS and now he is looking at another fine and points penalty.

Kickin’ the Tires was in the garage when the Truex’s car went through post-race inspection and spoke with Pearn about the forthcoming penalty.

“The right rear was way safe, we were conservative, you know, just trying not to cause any trouble but I don’t know, the left rear was the one showing in for whatever reason, showing too much,” Pearn said. “Yeah, it’s a bummer. It’s like .01 (degrees) over – barely nothing but it’s still over. It’s sure stressful passing that thing right now, I know that. We got nailed in the left rear, I mean, the left rear is all crinkled in and it’s the one showing in but that doesn’t matter, that’s the rules. If it’s over it’s over.

“It’s a bummer, it will be a P2 or whatever, especially since we got one last week, so it’s not really a good deal.”

A NASCAR official was seen looking at and taking photos of Truex’s tires in the garage as the car was going through inspection and it was obvious one of them had worn so much that the cords were showing. Pearn said he believed that was caused by Truex getting hit by another car during the race, which may have played a factor in the car being out of spec.

img_1856Following Truex’s post-race press conference, a NASCAR spokesperson confirmed for the media that Truex’s car had failed but said it was by the minimal standards set by the sanctioning body, which are part of a new set of rules laid out last week by Scott Miller, the NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition. Had the car been out of tolerance by a more severe degree, NASCAR could encumber the win, meaning it would not count towards advancement in The Chase.

“We have, at least, five cars post-race every race come across there and really damage has never been a factor. We have seen damaged cars pass and we have seen undamaged cars pass,” Miller told the media, on Wednesday. “Nothing that we have seen thus far would fit into this P4 category that we have established for the encumbered finishing position, so it will be egregious in nature, it will be deliberate, it won’t be an accident, so that is what we are trying to guard against.”

img_1864Additionally, the No. 48 car of Jimmie Johnson also failed post-race LIS at Chicagoland. When asked about the infraction, Crew Chief Chad Knaus said he did not want to discuss it at this time. Like Pearn, he faces a $15,000 fine and the team is looking at a 10 point deduction in driver and owner points.

The 18 car of Kyle Busch failed inspection on its first attempt but cleared all elements on its second time through. Crew Chief Adam Stevens said he didn’t think the car would have an issue on its second run through the inspection bay and he was correct. He gave a thumbs-up indicating they were cleared and will not face any penalties.

NASCAR will release the official penalty report later in the week.

2 Comments

  1. bobo

    September 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

    truex was told to ‘wiggle the car around alot’ at the end of the race by the crew chief obviously trying to hide something

  2. Brandon

    September 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Nascar is getting a little over board. Yes we need rules but to many have ruined the sport.
    I have personally never been a fan of the chase. You take away from a teams ability to stay consistent all year long.
    All the win and your in does is give not such great drivers or teams to appear great.
    Almost like give the fat kid a trophy.
    I say bring it back to points all year.
    I do get the argument that it make the full season a little more interesting.

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