Sport NASCAR may have found the perfect answer to its inspection issues

20:25  04 july  2018
20:25  04 july  2018 Source:   msn.com

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NASCAR doubled down on its response Saturday morning in advance of Saturday afternoon’s Xfinity Series Friday’s inspection issues and bizarre qualifying session are evidence that some teams are pushing May 19: NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1). The

One notable difference is the new inspection bay’s appearance — a black tent with a collection of 16 cameras and eight projectors attached to its inner structure. “I think that the initial reaction may be that NASCAR ’s changed something and oh, they’re clamping down on it harder, more difficult, and in

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Overshadowed by the dramatics in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway was the debut of another new NASCAR policy, one that may finally solve a lingering issue.

Due to the condensed Cup series schedule at Chicagoland – with all of the Cup series’ track activity limited to just two days – NASCAR altered its inspection procedures.

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Hendrick Motorsports had three cars fail to make qualifying attempts at Texas and Kansas because of inspection issues . NASCAR heads to its third short-track race of the season this weekend at Richmond Raceway. “I feel like Richmond is the perfect -sized race track.”

Cup qualifying was the last event on Saturday and teams were not required to be inspected prior to participating. Instead, they were all inspected after qualifying using post-qualifying tolerances (which offer a wider latitude than typical pre-qualifying inspections).

The catch was even if a team failed its first time through post-qualifying inspection, it would see its qualifying speed 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 ejection of team members.

Fewer issues

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

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Should NASCAR inspect cars only at the track after a race and no longer do so at the R&D Center days later even though penalties can be found there? The ultimate answer is to find a way to do postrace inspection expeditiously and exclusively at track.

In doing so, NASCAR appeared tough, unforgiving and non-discriminatory in enforcing its rules. As long as NASCAR is determined to do a two-tiered, drawn-out, postrace inspection of the top two cars after each Cup race, there appears to be no solution to these issues .

But guess what? Only four teams failed to pass the first time through post-qualifying inspection last Saturday 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.

This inspection process was scheduled to debut at the spring race weekend at Martinsville, Va., but the winter weather that weekend altered the schedule.

Right now, this inspection procedure is scheduled to be run only this season on weekends with a condensed track schedule, with its next appearance coming at Pocono later this month.

However, the new process may be the answer NASCAR has been looking for to rid itself of the bad optics of teams failing to get on the track to participate in qualifying.

Using this procedure, everyone gets to qualify and there is no reason why qualifying would not begin when it was scheduled to (barring weather delays).

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Theoretically, it will eliminate precious wiggle room under the previous laser inspection and template processes. As NASCAR has adjusted its rules to strip downforce in recent Wilson admits Toyota had found advantages with the splitter and now that is gone with the rule change for this season.

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If teams wish to push the limits to qualify, they end up paying a hefty price – losing their starting position and starting from the back of the field. Multiple failures would leave them without key team members for the remainder of the weekend.

Taking care of the problem

Gone are TV cameras focused on teams not participating in qualifying, or interviewing drivers from the garage when they are supposed to be on the track. Gone are the complaints from fans that they never got to see their favorite driver attempt to qualify.

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

But other than altering the days’ schedules to ensure NASCAR officials’ time working qualifying inspection doesn’t overlap with any companion races, there is no tangible reason it couldn’t be adapted for every race weekend.

Yes, it’s possible the pole winner could see his time disallowed after the fact, 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.

Sometimes NASCAR policies have unintended consequences and many times they are unwanted ones.

The new post-qualifying inspection process has the chance to eliminate a nagging optics problem for NASCAR and it appears to have found the way to rid itself of it once and for all.

It shouldn’t waste the opportunity to do so.

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