Chase Elliott’s team is racking up the penalties.
Elliott was docked 20 points and his crew chief Alan Gustafson was suspended two races for a rear windshield infraction during Sunday’s race at Texas. Elliott’s rear windshield was bowed in on the right side, similar to what was happening to Kevin Harvick’s rear windshield at Las Vegas.
There’s a prevailing thought that the bowed-in windshield allows more air to get onto the right side of the spoiler, adding downforce (and therefore speed and grip) to the car.
The windshield issue was spotted during the race by fans watching, so you know NASCAR and other teams noticed it too. Elliott and Gustafson were captured on their team radio at Las Vegas noting what was going on with Harvick’s rear windshield. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
— r/NASCAR on Reddit (@NASCARonReddit) April 8, 2018
Like Harvick’s penalty, Elliott’s team was officially penalized for improper rear windshield bracing.
It’s the third points penalty in the past 17 races for Elliott’s team and the second this season. Elliott was penalized 25 points earlier this year for a rear suspension infraction. Elliott was penalized 15 points after the first race of the 2015 playoffs after the team infamously put tape on the back of his spoiler to help with downforce.
We appreciate the lengths that Elliott’s team is going to find speed in his cars but 60 points lost in less than 20 races is a lot. It’s a full race’s worth of points, in fact.
The 45 points Elliott has lost this year means Elliott falls from 15th to 19th in the standings, 188 points off the points lead. If he was just 143 points back of points leader Kyle Busch, Elliott would be 13th in the standings. Given the penalties, it’s fair to wonder if Elliott’s hopes of making the playoffs without a win are severely damaged. He made last year’s playoffs without a victory and is still seeking his first-ever Cup Series win.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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