NASCAR cracks down on inspections “gamers”

NASCAR has been using a Laser Inspection System (LIS) since 2013. (Getty Images)

It’s a given that a smart NASCAR crew chief will push the limits of the rules – and find loopholes in existing legislation wherever they’re available.

Between seasons, however, NASCAR has gone a long way to close a loophole in the inspection process. This year, if a car fails at any stage of pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection, the team must take the car back to the garage, return to specifications and start the entire process over again.

Last year, a car simply had to repeat the station it failed, the Laser Inspection Station (LIS), for example.

“Teams would go across the LIS, and purposely fail, so they would go off to the side and ‘em up on jack stands,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR vice president, officiating and technical inspection. “Not only would they fix the LIS issue, then they’d completely rebuild the top of the car and aerodynamics.

“So we’d only send them back through the LIS. OK, as a competitor, you do that, and we have to react this way.”

Even with the new procedures in place Sawyer thinks crew chiefs will continue to push the envelope – at least initially.

“I think they will,” Sawyer said. “They will have to see how much teeth we’re going to put into it. If we do what we’ve said – which I know we will – then we’ll see.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.