DOVER, Del. – Carl Edwards' No. 99 was the class of the field here at Dover International Speedway on Sunday.
There may be a reason for that.
After Edwards won the Dodge Dealers 400, his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford failed postrace inspection. Officials determined the car's right rear was too low, and NASCAR chose to take possession of the car and bring it back to its Concord, N.C., facility for further testing.
If NASCAR's finding sticks, it is likely – based on precedent – that Edwards will keep the victory but be penalized driver points. Team owner Jack Roush also would be docked owner points, and fines also could be assessed.
"We'll go back to Daytona and Concord and look at it," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said of a possible points penalty, avoiding speculation on what, if any, the penalty might be.
NASCAR found Edwards' car to be at least a half inch too low, according to its rules. Poston emphasized, however, that the violation showed "no evidence of manipulation of the integrity of the car."
Poston said NASCAR will announce any penalty later this week.
Edwards' win Sunday moved him to third in the standings behind Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, sitting just three points behind after the race. With the top eight in the standings being separated by just 75 points, however, a penalty – depending on its severity – could cost Edwards greatly in the standings.
NASCAR has come down hard on teams that have broken the rules with the Car of Tomorrow – which ran here at Dover – imposing 100-point penalties and six-race suspensions for crew chiefs. But those particular inspection failures were prerace; Edwards' car passed prerace inspection, meaning the penalty could be less than the 100-point deductions incurred earlier this season by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s teams.
Earlier this season, Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch each were penalized 25 points (their crew chiefs also were fined and placed on probation, and the respective car owners were docked 25 points each) after their COTs failed postrace inspection at New Hampshire. In those cases, the front ends of the cars were found to be too low.
Edwards actually was one of only a few Chase drivers to make it through Sunday's wreck- and mechanical-failure-filled race relatively unscathed, though he did have to recover from an early throttle problem.