NASCAR turned it’s back on an illegal action by Jimmie Johnson’s #48 team Sunday at Martinsville.
Before the race(evidently during pre-race inspection), NASCAR confiscated the drive-shaft cover on the #48 car and asked the team politely to replace it. The team replaced the illegal part, and the day went on as usual.
This was the statement given on NASCAR This Week:
“NASCAR officials confiscated a drive-shaft cover from Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy before the race. According to a NASCAR source, officials just asked the team to replace a part and it wasn’t a serious matter.”
The part in question had no bearing on Sunday’s race, nor on the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But without any question, Johnson and his team should be penalized. At least, if NASCAR wants to maintain any sort of consistency.
Here’s a look at penalties handed out to teams for pre-race part violations in the Sprint Cup Series in 2010:
~At Texas, Max Papis and Marcos Ambrose were each penalized 50 points for illegal lower radiator pans discovered in post-qualifying inspection. The parts in question never saw the track during the race.
~ At Darlington, Michael McDowell was penalized 25 points for an illegal rear gear discovered in post-qualifying inspection. The part in question never saw the track during the race.
~ At Pocono, Travis Kvapil was penalized 150 points for illegal bleeder valves on the tires discovered before Kvapil rolled onto the track to take the green flag. The parts in question never saw the track during the race.
In all three instances, the parts in question never saw any sort of on-track action during the race. Even still, the teams were docked points for possessing parts that NASCAR did not feel were fit to race; as was the case with Johnson on Sunday at Martinsville.
It looks like NASCAR has put the matter to bed, but it probably shouldn’t. It’s only fair that Johnson, regardless of his status in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, should face the same sort of penalties as the teams I mentioned above.
For NASCAR not to take any sort of action would be a result of sheer hypocrisy on its part.