13 drivers don't post qualifying times at Auto Club Speedway

From The Marbles
FONTANA, CA – MARCH 16: <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/nationwide/drivers/3188" data-ylk="slk:Alex Bowman">Alex Bowman</a>, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, waits for his car to pass inspection during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2018 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
FONTANA, CA – MARCH 16: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, waits for his car to pass inspection during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2018 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time before inspection became the dominant qualifying topic in the Cup Series. And that matter of time was just five races into the 2018 season

Thirteen cars didn’t pass inspection and were unable to make qualifying runs during Friday’s qualifying at Auto Club Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. won the pole, edging out Kyle Busch but the focus was on the drivers that didn’t make laps.

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Two Joe Gibbs Racing cars (Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez) didn’t make qualifying laps on Friday and all four Hendrick Motorsports cars didn’t get a chance to try to qualify either.

The inspection issues are a carryover from 2017, when many intermediate track races featured qualifying sessions where the inspection process was more dramatic than the qualifying process. NASCAR has a new inspection system in 2018 — it’s camera-based rather than laser-based — but the scourge of teams pushing the limits has not ceased.

Remember, this is not a NASCAR problem. It’s a team problem. Without a flaw in the NASCAR inspection process, at least. If a team can’t get its car legal then it shouldn’t be allowed to qualify. It’s pretty simple.

The pole is Truex’s second-straight. He started first a week ago at Phoenix and finished fifth. Kyle Larson, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon round out the top five. Here’s the rest of the starting lineup:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Erik Jones
5. Austin Dillon
6. Joey Logano
7. Kurt Busch
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Ryan Newman
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Brad Keselowski
12. Chris Buescher
13. Trevor Bayne
14. Paul Menard
15. Jamie McMurray
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Ty Dillon
18. Matt DiBenedetto
19. Darrell Wallace Jr.
20. Gray Gaulding
21. David Ragan
22. Michael McDowell
23. Jeffrey Earnhardt
24. Reed Sorenson
25. Denny Hamlin
26. Clint Bowyer
27. Aric Almirola
28. Alex Bowman
29. William Byron
30. Daniel Suarez
31. Chase Elliott
32. Jimmie Johnson
33. AJ Allmendinger
34. Kasey Kahne
35. Timmy Hill
36. Ross Chastain
37. Cole Whitt

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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