Decision Not to Penalize Truex, Johnson the Right One

Look I get that this may not be popular, but NASCAR absolutely made the right call not to penalize Martin Truex Jr. or Jimmie Johnson following both of their cars failing the LIS post race inspection at Chicago on Sunday. Both of their cars barely failed inspection as they would have received a P2 penalty as a result. But, with the importance of the Chase, and how small they were off of being legal, NASCAR decided to eliminate P2 as well as P3 penalties and be more forceful on P4 penalties in the future.

That call is the absolute right one too.

“This was the most fair decision we could get to,” said O’Donnell, explaining that a points penalty assessed to a team still trying to get into the next round of the Chase would have dramatically different effects than on a team that is already locked into the Round of 12 with a win at Chicago. “Those penalties will not have the same impact on the competitors, based on the Chase format and the increased emphasis on win bonuses.”

Darrell Waltrip made a great point after the race saying that taking a car through a laser inspection after 400 or even 500 miles of racing is basically absurd. A lot can change cosmetically to a car during a race with the amount of air flow they take as well as any sort of damage from contact with the wall or another competitor can alter the body of a car which in turn would fail a laser (LIS) inspection.

In this case, Truex said contact with Kevin Harvick during the race is what absolutely caused his car to fail inspection and it wasn’t fair that he would be penalized for that. He’s right too.

So, with this rule change, it makes the most sense. Barely being over the line is fine, but a P4 penalty means the car was drastically altered to get a wide unfair advantage. Minor contact on the track during a race won’t knock the car off enough to fail the LIS and receive a P4 penalty.

To put it in laymens terms, the speed limit was raised from 45 to 55 but if you go 56 mph in that 55 mph zone, you will be penalized so much you won’t win the championship. Instead of going one mph over the speed limit and receiving a time out and slap on the wrist, now you will be probably sitting out races (plural) and docked so many points it will be impossible to make them all back up.

That’s the right move.

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