You can bet that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman is taking in a few sighs of relief. Following the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Newman's car failed post race inspection. Newman celebrated making the next round of the chase while his car was sent off for inspection by NASCAR.
The good news is that NASCAR has ruled that the violation of the mandated ride-height rule was caused by damaged to Newman's car substaned during a wreck instead of anything that the team did. Newman said he was more than pleased to hear about the results of the inspection which NASCAR released on Tuesday.
"I was worried because you never know what could happen," Newman said during the Eliminator Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I was happy with the fact that NASCAR took the time to take the car back to the Tech Center, do everything and analyze everything."
The findings clear Newman's crew of doing anything wrong to the car which eliminate the possibility that he would be fined and more importantly have points taken away. NASCAR Stats tweeted a brief statement indicating the findings.
"UPDATE: The No. 31 car has cleared post-race inspection from Talladega; there are no issues," the tweet read. "Race damage caused the rear to be low."
Would a Penalty Have Mattered?
Anytime NASCAR starts talking about failed inspections and possible fines or penalties drivers and teams tend to get nervous. That especially holds true in the seasons version of the Championship Chase where every point is important.
Newman said he was worried about penalties, as anyone would be, but that he felt comfortable about his points in the chase. The driver was counting on history and previous penalties given out for similar situations. According to Newman he felt as if his team had built up a nice buffer of points no matter what NASCAR decided.
"I didn't know if there was going to be a penalty. I didn't know what that penalty was going to be. I was confident it wasn't going to be more than 27 points because that would be the biggest penalty for that type of penalty ever that I can imagine or have heard of. But in the end, you never know. I was happy that they did their due diligence in conjunction with working with our team that they understood everything."
The reason that Newman's car was sent back to the R&D center following Talladega was that it failed the minimum height rule. The rule was discarded on all tracks in the Sprint Cup Series for this season except for restrictor plate races.
Following the race Newman's car failed the inspection but Newman was confident that the issue came from damage to his car due to a minor wreck. During the last restart he was hit from behind and that's where Newman feels the damage came from. The damage appeared to be so slight that Newman says he never really gave it any extra thought.
"I never looked at the car after the race," Newman said. "I didn't expect there to be any issues, so I didn't analyze exactly what happened."
It was not until the driver of the No. 31 car talked to his crew chief, Luke Lambert, that he had an indication that the damage to the car was so sevier as to cause it to fail the inspection at the track.
"He (Lambert) said the quarter panels were wrinkled on it," Newman said about his discussion with his crew chief. "Which shows that the clip had moved a little a bit and the body moved a little bit as well."