To say Kyle Busch had an up and down day at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday is a bit of an understatement. The winningest driver in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck series ran double duty Saturday starting with the NASCAR Xfinity race. While he did cross the finish line in first and took part in the post-race winners celebration, it ended shortly after.
During post-race inspection the left rear of Busch’s No. 54 Toyota was found to be too low and he and the team were disqualified. The race win was awarded to Austin Cindric who had finished second on the track.
“The saying in racing is always low left and light,” Brian Wilson crew chief for Cindric said after learning they had won. “That helps get your car down and helps lower the (center of gravity), there’s a reason why there are rules in place.”
Wilson however, defended the crews.
“It’s our job to toe the line and I’m always worried about stuff like that,” he said. “I definitely feel bad for those guys. That’s not how you want to lose a race. They executed a really good race and they were out ahead of us by a good amount. “
Wilson added that teams are given a bit of flexibility when it comes to the heights.
“I feel like the height tolerance they give you a window pre-race that we all work within,” Wilson said. “We typically toe the line there, but they let you adjust in pre-race tech to make sure that you’re within those windows, so there is definitely room that you can adjust and still work on your setup. And then post-race they give you a pretty good window as well, where if you have to take rounds out of the left-rear for balance you should have enough room for that. So, I personally feel like there’s enough adjustability. There’s a pretty good window that you’ve got to work in.”
Wayne Auton NASCAR Xfinity series director later said the inspection process they implemented prior to the 2019 season was one teams had lobbied for. And one that included disqualifications for significant rules violations. He explained the process.
“We automatically take our top five cars and run them through post-race inspection every week,” he said. “The cars are checked exactly like they are pre-race with the chocks all unhooked. The teams’ have the ability to pick up on their car after the shocks are unhooked. We check air pressure first. Then we let one person unbolt the shocks (to check for) bounce.
“Then the hood is put down and the car is rolled onto the height station, the air pressures have already been checked, so we are checking apples to apples so to speak; the same way we check them pre-race. Then we put the height sticks on them up on the platform. If there’s any discrepancies, we look at the body to see if there’s any damage to it that may have caused the car to not meet post-race inspection. We did not see that on the 54 car today. We then verified with the crew chief that the left rear was low, in the red. So, we pulled the sticks off; let them recheck the air pressure.”
“Everyone pretty much knows the ins and outs of post-race inspection and how we’re going to do them. We rechecked the air pressures, let them check those, make sure they’re right, plus the air pressures were verified by the NASCAR official, the team. Then the height sticks are displayed on the car again and on the 54 car the left rear was still in the red. At that point in time we advised the team that they would be DQ’d from tech.
Auton said the sticks were verified by the team, and that the team had 24 hours to appeal.
Busch had little time to talk about what had happened, or even think about it after the Xfinity race. He jumped into his Kyle Busch Motorsports truck and won the truck race a few hours later. Even after that race, Busch was still unsure.
“I don’t really understand what happened there,” Busch said. “I don’t know why we would have been too low. Obviously, you start the cars in the green and then there’s a leeway, I don’t know if it’s three-eighths of an inch or what it is on the sticks before you fall into the red and we were a sixteenth into the red. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
“The only thing I can think of,” he added. “Is when they’re allowed to unhook the shocks and they pull the front of the car up, they over-pulled the front of the car up, which dipped it on the left rear because the left rear spring is kind of soft and that lowered the left rear spoiler height where they check it all the way at the back of the car. That made it low. If the front was high – a half-inch high or whatever, they would have let it push the front down to minimum on the front, minimum legal, it probably would have picked the back up and the back would have been fine.”
Danny Stockman Jr. was the winning crew chief for Busch in the Truck race. He said that it could have been the procedures the teams do prior to post-race inspection. He was sitting just a few feet away from where his winning truck was undergoing post-race inspection. After Busch failed post-race Xfinity inspection, he was asked he if was worried his truck might have inspection issues.
“What people and the fans sometimes don’t understand. It is worrisome every week,” Stockman said. “The rules we have to abide by and performance.”
“I was reading some stuff on Twitter before the race and people are saying “oh Kyle’s got to cheat in Xfinity to win” and that isn’t the case,” Stockman added. “The car was legal, but it wasn’t. It’s how you execute the tech process after the race, and sometimes if you don’t execute it properly it’s not going to get though there.”
“Heights are very difficult. It’s one of them things; it’s very difficult but it’s so simple at the same time,” he added. “A couple of years ago I got in trouble at Kansas; I’ve been in trouble for heights two or three times, it’s really frustrating, but it is the rules and we have to abide by the rules that NASCAR puts forward. It sucks to be honest with you.”
The truck did pass post -race inspection. And while Busch was declared the winner of the truck race, unless the team wins on appeal, the Xfinity race win will be gone forever thanks to the post-race inspection failure.
“Too many levers, too many things, too much bullshit that you have to go through,” Busch said. “It would be nice to get rid of all the ride-height rules across all three series in my opinion.”
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