Notebook: NASCAR Addresses Inspection Issues

NASCAR Inspection

NASCAR has not ruled out stiffer penalties to teams not making it through pre-qualifying inspection. (Photo: Getty Images)

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NASCAR has not ruled out stiffer penalties to teams not making it through pre-qualifying inspection.

Eleven teams did not turn a qualifying lap for last week’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway after failing inspection. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne were included. The sanctioning body will continue to monitor the situation and won’t rule out ramping up penalties as a deterrent.

"It’s not a great situation for competitors," Scott Miller, NASCAR vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s "The Morning Drive." "It’s not a great situation for us, the fans or broadcast partners. We can’t keep having those situations come up. The rear steer of the racecars is a hot topic as a performance metric. We’re seeing people build the rear-end housing to the tolerance, and then they have no room to move it around in the car and make it meet the numbers.

"It’s a learning process. We'll have some meetings this week on how we move forward. I’m not sure if we have more penalties. It’s not good for anybody, but there’s not a lot of consequence to it other than the teams not getting out there."

RPM Future Undecided
Richard Petty Motorsports continues to monitor the health of Aric Almirola, who was injured in an accident Saturday night at Kansas Speedway. Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 vertebra. After being held overnight at a Kansas City hospital, he returned to his North Carolina home.

While RPM has not announced its plan to replace Almirola during his expected absence while recovering, FOX Sports reported that the team made an offer to the retired Carl Edwards, who stepped away from the sport in January of this year. Edwards politely declined.

RPM can secure a berth in this Saturday’s All-Star Race through the night’s preliminary Monster Energy Open.

Hendrick Working on Contracts
Jimmie Johnson said back at Speedweeks in Daytona that he wasn’t worrying about when a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports would happen and that the seven-time Cup Series champion was secure about his future with the organization.

Hendrick also has sponsorship work to get done including its relationship with long-time Johnson sponsor Lowe’s. Team owner Rick Hendrick indicated that a new deal with the home-improvement company was imminent and that there are reports that ink could meet paper within a matter of weeks.

Of course, there’s also the small bit of business the team must face to replace the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2018. No decision has been reached yet.

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