Saturday, April 1, 2023

Truex, Hamlin and Larson All Lose a Crew Member For Championship Race After Multiple Failed Inspections

Three of the four Championship 4 drivers (Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson) had some drama in inspection, but avoided having to start at the rear of the field. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Sean Gardner)

Three of the four drivers who are competing for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship this weekend at Phoenix Raceway failed inspection multiple times heading into Saturday’s qualifying session.

The cars that will be driven by Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson failed inspection twice each. As a result, all three drivers will have one crew member ejected from Phoenix Raceway for the weekend.

Per the NASCAR rule book, it was NASCAR’s decision to pick which crew members would be ejected. NASCAR selected the car chief for each team.

Larson’s car chief Jesse Saunders, Hamlin’s car chief Brandon Griffith and Truex’s car chief Blake Harris will all watch the Championship Race from somewhere else.

All three teams passed on their third pass through the inspection bay, which was critical as a third failure would have meant forfeiture of their starting spots and a pass-through penalty on the start of the race.

All drivers will be permitted to participate in qualifying on Saturday, and will face no further penalties.

Chase Elliott, the fourth driver in the Championship 4 battle, had no issues in technical inspection and the No. 9 car passed on it’s first pass through the inspection bay.

Typically, multiple pre-race inspection failures leads to cars dropping to the rear of the field on non-impound race weekends, or race weekends where the field is set by the NASCAR performance metric. On impound weekends, pre-qualifying inspection is treated as pre-race inspection as the cars are not allowed to be worked on post-qualifying.

This is the reason for the different rules when it comes to penalties for multiple inspection failures than we have become accustomed to over the last couple of years since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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