It seems that the NASCAR inspection process should be black and white. You either pass inspection and the car is legal, or you don't and the car must be fixed and/or a penalty will be assessed. It seems straightforward enough, at least on the outside anyway.
However, Jenna Fryer reported Tuesday that Clint Bowyer's Richmond car — the car that he used to clinch a spot in the Chase — came close to failing inspection.
NASCAR scheduled a Tuesday meeting with RCR officials to go over the No. 33 Chevrolet and determine if the team had not made a mistake in its own calculations.
"They were in the box, but getting close to some of the tolerances and we asked them to come in to see if they aren't getting off on one of their build sheets," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton told The Associated Press.
"We have had their cars in quite a bit, and they were always spot-on. This one just seemed to be different, and we felt we owed it to them to make sure they just aren’t off in one area."
Pemberton went on to say that this wasn't similar to the situation that arose when cars from Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson were warned in Dover last season. Pemberton said in that case the Hendrick cars "had no room to breathe" when it came to crossing the line between legal and illegal and that Bowyer's car "seemed to be different" than other RCR cars that have been in the R&D center.
But shouldn't all of the cars in the Sprint Cup Series be pushing the envelope? NASCAR has said that Bowyer's car passed inspection — and I'm not accusing RCR of cheating — but given that the rules are black and white, doesn't it stand to reason that a car should be as close to the legal limit as possible to achieve the maximum performance advantage?
- Robin Pemberton