HAMPTON, Ga – Everyone wondered how Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing were getting all their speed the last few years. Truex, had won 12 races, scored 27 top five finishes and 44 top 10s over the last two seasons. He also led 1,809 laps in 2016 and 2,253 more a year ago.
Even last year, Truex and FRR were leaps and bounds better than the other Toyota team in Joe Gibbs Racing. How were they so much better than the team that they got cars, pit crews, engines, resources, etc?
Theories were thrown around, but nothing concrete.
Well, NASCAR’s new inspection system was adopted for the 2018 season. It’s a way to make more of a level playing field and to cut the monkey business off.
We all knew Atlanta would be the first track where the impact of the OSS would be seen. Last year, we’d see long lines of cars waiting in the inspection line due to how many cars that would fail. This year, it should go much quicker due to the computers not letting anyone get out of line.
Well, one car didn’t qualify on Friday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway – Truex’s No. 78 Toyota. In fact, they failed inspection three times and decided not to try it again for a fourth. The reasoning behind that was that if they failed four times, the car chief, crew chief and others would be ejected. They’d also get penalized heavily.
So, they chose not to go through inspection again. If they do fail again this weekend though, that penalty is back in play.
What’s interesting to me is that all three times they failed inspection it was due to an issue with the back half of the car. That’s an area where I was hearing there was an advantage for the Toyota’s.
The infractions today were all a result of that.
I find it ironic that the best team with the most all out speed and results over the last two seasons were the only ones that couldn’t pass the new inspection on a type of track that they dominated last season. Seven of their eight wins were on 1.5-mile tracks. Now, in the first race on a 1.5-mile track with a new inspection system, they couldn’t pass through three times.