Aric Almirola set for penalty after post-race inspection failure at Dega

John K Harrelson/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Aric Almirola’s hope for a playoff berth on points may be due for a serious setback after his No. 43 Ford failed post-race inspection at Talladega Superspeedway.

Coming off of a win in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, Almirola surged late to claim a fourth-place finish in the Geico 500, his best finish of the 2017 season. However, the result may be for naught after the Richard Petty Motorsports driver’s No. 43 Ford failed post-race laser inspection, an infraction that should yield penalties from the sanctioning body.

NASCAR issues penalties on a case-by-case basis, so the exact penalties Almirola will see for a penalty remain unknown at this time. Brad Keselowski was issued a 35-point penalty when his car failed laser inspection in March, with crew chief Paul Wolfe issued a three-race suspension that’s held through appeals thus far.

Per the NASCAR rulebook, penalties can vary from 10-40 points, with the possibility of the team’s crew chief being suspended anywhere from one to three races.

Any points penalties could prove fatal to Almirola’s 2017 campaign. Coming off one of the worst years in his career, Almirola has proven competitive this season, scoring two top fives and three top 10s in the opening 10 races. The 33-year-old currently sits 17th in the series standings, just one marker off of 16th-place Trevor Bayne and the current playoff grid.

Almirola has one previous playoff berth – a first-round elimination in 2014 after earning his way into what was then referred to as “The Chase” with a summer win at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR announces penalties during the week, typically on Wednesday.

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