NASCAR has decided not to penalise any of the teams found to have been using unapproved roof flap spacers which were identified by pre-event technical scrutineering before last weekend's races at Daytona International Speedway.
31 cars in total across the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams were found to be using the affected parts, which are part of how the 'pop-up' flaps on the top of the cars operate to check speed when the car spins round and travels in the wrong direction. The flaps are used to reduce the chances of the car flipping over and barrel-rolling in the event of an accident.
16 Sprint Cup cars were found to to be using roof flap spaces which did not precisely conform to the rule book. The drivers affected were Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Marco Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, Casey Mears, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards. The top three drivers in qualifying - Kyle Busch, Matt kenseth and Clint Bowyer - were also cited.
In the Nationwide Series, a further 15 cars were found to have similar infractions: Busch, Kenseth, Bayne, Brian Vickers, Travis Pastrana, Michael Annett, Cole Whitt, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill, Blake Koch, Mike Bliss, Reed Sorenson, Robert Richardson Jr., Jason White and Dexter Stacey were all determined to be in breach.
According to reports in the media, the issue was that the spacers being illegally machined down to reduce weight. The cars were allowed to compete in their respective events once the commandeered parts were replaced with authorised equivalents, but NASCAR was expected to hand down fines and points deductions in its usual post-weekend penalties announcement.
With so many cases to look into, the decision didn't come on Tuesday afternoon as is usually the case and was finally issued on Wednesday instead - with the surprise conclusion that no one would be penalised after all.
“We examined this from every aspect we possibly could and determined that there would be no penalties involved,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition.
“Based upon our inspection and subsequent review, it was our determination that the functionality and safety aspects of the roof flaps were not compromised and the on track competition would not be impacted," he continued.
"Moving forward we will work with the roof flap manufacturer and the race teams to evaluate and optimize the associated installation hardware, review the process in its totality and communicate in a timely manner to the garage area any revisions that we determine need to be made."