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NASCAR confiscates roof spacers from 31 teams


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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR officials confiscated roof flap spacers from 16 Sprint Cup Series teams and 15 from teams competing in the Nationwide Series on opening day here at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp announced the Sprint Cup Series infractions following the first of two practice sessions for the series. Following the second Cup session, he announced similar violations had been discovered in the Nationwide Series garage.

The spacers "support the hinge bar of the roof flaps," Tharp said.

The roof flaps are built to deploy and allow air to escape from inside the cockpit of the car if the car is spun, lessening the chance it would become airborne.

The Cup cars affected were those of drivers Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip and Martin Truex Jr.

Because the spacers were confiscated shortly before the opening practice for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 (8 p.m. ET, TNT), several Cup teams were late getting on track.

Tharp said it was too soon to determine if the infractions would result in points or monetary penalties, which typically would be announced 2-3 days after the completion of an event.

"They weren't in compliance with the kits that the manufacturer provide," he said.

The spacers confiscated were not uniform in size or appearance.

Former driver Kyle Petty, speaking during SPEED's coverage of the day's two practice sessions, said altering a piece that was built specifically to enhance safety would be looked at differently by NASCAR officials.

"In the past when team has altered a safety device ? mandated by NASCAR to keep the cars on the ground in the case of a spin ? that's different than adjusting other parts," Petty said.

"Now you've stepped over that line into the safety area."

Nationwide teams found with non-compliant spacers were those of drivers fielded by drivers Bayne, Busch, Brian Vickers, Cole Whitt, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill, Kenseth, Blake Koch, Mike Bliss, Michael Annett, Travis Pastrana, Reed Sorenson, Robert Richardson, Jason White and Dexter Stacey.

"As is very customary, in one garage you communicate over to the other ? and say, 'hey, this is what we found.' And we looked into it," Tharp said.

The Subway Firecracker 250 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) NASCAR Nationwide Series race is scheduled for Friday night at DIS.



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