Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was able to celebrate a second-place finish in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, for a little while at least.
NASCAR officials later disqualified his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet after post-race inspection at Charlotte Motor Speedway, erasing Johnson’s runner up spot.
Cup Series director Jay Fabian said that the No. 48 car’s rear alignment failed in the Optical Scanning Station (OSS) portion of technical inspection after the race. Johnson and the team were relegated to a last-place finish in the 40-car field.
“The failure was rear alignment,” Fabian said. “It’s the same thing that we check at least a handful of cars for post‑race after every event. I can’t really give specifics on the numbers. Yes, there is a pre‑race number and a post‑race number that does give a pretty decent tolerance. It was outside of those post‑race numbers.”
All other drivers who took the checkered flag behind Johnson were moved up one position in the finishing order. Johnson also forfeits the 11 stage points he had earned in Sunday’s event.
“The 48 ran strong tonight all night. I hate it for them. They had a good car, performed well,” Fabian said. “But yeah, the allowance is built in for parts that move. There’s an allowance for that. But if parts break, you know, the number is the number. There is no real parameter outside of that. There’s parts in the past that have been designed to failure break. Certainly not suggesting that’s the case here. But that’s what’s gotten us to this hard line of this is a post‑race number and there is a fair tolerance from pre‑race numbers to post.”
Fabian wouldn’t say how far out the car was.
“I’m not going to characterize that,” he said. “It was out of the box. In the OSS, once that box turns red, it’s exactly like a speeding penalty. There is no turning back from that.”
Fabian said the No. 48 team had a right to appeal the penalty. No. 48 crew chief Cliff Daniels speculated early Monday morning when the penalty was announced that something may have broken on the car and that the team would investigate.
“Disappointed about our post-race OSS,” Daniels tweeted. “We think something must’ve broken but won’t know until we get it back to the shop tomorrow and can diagnose. Tough news after a strong night. This team is getting stronger We are focused forward. We’ll be back Wednesday with another great car.”
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