How NASCAR's Chicago round proved it can solve its inspection angst

Overshadowed by the dramatic NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicago was the debut of a new policy, one that may finally solve a lingering issue with inspections

How NASCAR's Chicago round proved it can solve its inspection angst

NASCAR modernised and revised its inspection policy for 2018, using high-tech laser scanners to detect illegalities on Cup cars, in a move mooted to level the playing field between Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford.

But Martin Truex Jr recently blasted the system after repeated and regular inspection failures in the Cup field convinced the 2017 champion that it gave the perception that "everyone's cheating".

NASCAR itself had become frustrated with the regularity of the failures, particularly when serial offenders complained to the media.

The series may now have found an answer, thanks to an altered inspection procedure due to the condensed two-day Cup series schedule at Chicago.

Qualifying was the last session on Saturday and teams were not required to be inspected prior to it. Instead, they were all inspected afterwards using post-qualifying tolerances, which offer a wider scope than typical pre-qualifying inspections.

The catch was even if a car failed its first post-qualifying inspection, its qualifying speed was disallowed and the driver would start the race from the rear of the field.

That was the minimum penalty. Additional failures would result in bigger penalties, including the ejection of team members.

Given the recent history of teams pushing inspection limits, rumours of dozens of failures were circulating before the race weekend.

But guess what? Only four teams failed to pass the first time through post-qualifying inspection, and no teams failed multiple times.

It's stunning to see how teams can manage to get a car through inspection when faced with real and substantial consequences for failure.

And just as importantly, the TV cameras would not be on teams sitting out qualifying, or interviewing drivers from the garage when they are supposed to be on the track.

Because qualifying took place on Saturday evening at Chicago, cars were impounded and no pre-race inspection was required on Sunday. That would have to change if NASCAR adapted this inspection process for every weekend (those with three days of track activity).

Pocono later this month will be the next two-day event to use this form of inspection, but the new process may be the answer NASCAR has been looking for to rid itself of the bad image of teams failing to get on track to participate in qualifying.

Other than altering schedules to ensure NASCAR officials' time working on qualifying inspection doesn't overlap with any support races, there is no tangible reason it couldn't be adapted for every race weekend.

Yes, it's possible the polesitter could have his time disallowed, but that is nothing new and has always been possible. To ensure fans in attendance see the "true" pole-winner, NASCAR could put the drivers with the top five speeds to the head of the inspection line and clear them first.

It has to be accepted that sometimes NASCAR policies have unintended consequences, and many times they are unwanted ones.

The new post-qualifying inspection process provides NASCAR a chance to eliminate a nagging problem - a way to rid itself of it once and for all. It shouldn't waste the opportunity to do so.

shares
comments
NASCAR playoff road course race at Charlotte roval cut by 100km
Previous article

NASCAR playoff road course race at Charlotte roval cut by 100km

Next article

Xfinity driver Spencer Gallagher back to NASCAR after drug ban

Xfinity driver Spencer Gallagher back to NASCAR after drug ban
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Plus

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Plus

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Plus

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his team-mate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Plus

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival Plus

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021