NASCAR has announced penalties against Kurt Busch and his race team following the rain shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Shortly after the race was called due to the wet weather NASCAR Media reported that Busch would be penalized for an infraction found during post-race inspections.
Busch ran at the front most of the day but ended up in third when the event was stopped and the current leader at the time of the stoppage, Aric Almirola of Richard Petty Motorsports, was declared the winner.
The penalties included the following according to NASCAR Media. The sanctioning body (NASCAR) stripped the team of 10 points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner championship standings. They also docked Busch 10 points in the season-long driver standings. Officials also fined crew chief Daniel Knost $10,000. The infraction falls under the heading of a P2-level penalty according to the 2014 NASCAR rule book. The team was also sanctioned for violating Section 12-1 -- "actions detrimental to stock car racing."
The track bar is a hollow steel tube where teams adjust the car's chassis during the race. The track bar's mounting position can be raised or lowered to alter the car's handling characteristics. According to a NASCAR official release, the or difference of the Z-height measurement between the center of the track bar mounting bolt located at the left truck trailing arm and the center of the track bar mounting bolt, located at the right rear sub-frame mounting bracket, exceeded the maximum of three inches, which is required for all events at Daytona and Talladega.
NASCAR said shortly after the race that a potential track bar issue on Busch’s car would be looked at further and undergo testing later in the week. This was following the normal post-race inspection where cars are looked over for possible violations. Testing took place at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. NASCAR then issued penalties on Tuesday to Busch’s No. 41 team. Busch drives the car for the Stewart-Haas Racing following his move to the team at the beginning of the 2014 race season.
Busch was a force to be contended with during the race. He drove the No. 41 Chevrolet to a third-place finish in the rain-shortened event which moved him up two spots in the driver standings to the 24 spot from 26. With the announcement of the penalty Busch will slide back two spots to his original rank of 26 just as he was before the Daytona race weekend. The third-place effort was Busch's fourth top-five finish in the first half of the Sprint Cup season.
The issue for the driver now is a matter of points as the race for the chase continues. Busch prevailed earlier in the year with a win at Martinsville Speedway. The win is almost a clinching factor in him earning a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The problem is that drivers must also finish in the top 30 in points to be eligible for the chase. If Busch has any trouble such as poor finishes or DNF’s over the next few races he could slide further down the standings.
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