NASCAR apologizes to Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 team for inspection mistake

NASCAR made a mistake Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. During prerace inspection Sunday morning prior to the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup AAA Texas 500, Jimmie Johnson’s Chevy failed, twice.

NASCAR officials forced him to start in the rear of the field surrendering his 23rd starting spot.

The problem was that Johnson shouldn’t have been sent to the back of the field.  According to NASCAR’s rules a car is only sent to the back of the field if it fails inspection three times not two.  That’s what happened to Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron.

The error in sending Johnson to the back of the field wasn’t discovered until the race was halfway over.  It was too late for NASCAR to fix the mistake, only own up to it and apologize.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer met with the media after the race.

“First, you talk to the team, and you apologize to the 48 for what happened,” he said. “It’s unacceptable on our part. Communication breakdown that happened right before the start of the race between kind of our inspection area on the ground and race control where I think there was an assumption that there was a third failure. There wasn’t. There was only two. In that case the 48 shouldn’t have started in the back. At this point what we can do is put processes in place to fix that so it never happens again.

Johnson finished 15th.

“It’s disappointing,” O’Donnell said. “It’s not something you can fix during the race unfortunately. All we can do is own up to it and fix it.”

“It was just an unfortunate miscommunication,” crew chief Chad Knaus said.

Johnson later tweeted: “I appreciate your honesty and apology. This was just one issue of many we had today.”