JOLIET, Ill. – It’s akin to creating something you hope you never have to use.
Heading into the Chase, NASCAR’s codification of the rules governing laser inspection station failures and lug nut infractions has been met with a favorable response among competitors who rely on a level playing field to determine the championship.
Earlier this week, NASCAR clarified the concept of an encumbered victory, where a driver would keep the trophy but would lose the other accompanying benefits of a win. In other words, with an encumbered victory, a driver would not advance automatically to the next round of the Chase.
The idea is to take the “reward” out of a risk/reward equation where the “risk” involves a blatant infraction of the rules to gain a competitive advantage.
“It’s a rule that had to be made,” said Team Penske driver Joey Logano. “In my opinion, if you are in a do-or-die situation, you can hammer down and screw your stuff up, and if the penalty is 15 points and $50,000, well then I got the win and I’m moving on. You have to do something that takes the next round berth away.
“Unless we’re just going to have the wild, wild West and have stuff sideways and take the penalty. NASCAR had to do something about it. That was something that was talked about through a lot of the (drivers’) council meetings, and everyone came up with a plan for what they felt was acceptable and what they felt was not acceptable, and NASCAR has done a good job of laying down that rule.
“They had to make the rule, for sure.”
Kyle Larson led final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice with a lap at 183.299 mph, followed by Sunoco rookie Chase Elliott at 182.883 mph. But Jimmie Johnson continued to dominate the fastest 10-lap average category, running 179.687 mph on his first through 10th laps. Elliott was second to his Hendrick Motorsports teammate in 10-lap average at 178.724 mph.