The deadline to file an appeal over their disqualifications from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Pocono Raceway came and went on Monday. Joe Gibbs Racing elected to stand by NASCAR’s ruling over the disqualification of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch’s finish in Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400.
Hamlin crossed the finish line first. Busch was 2nd. However, the celebration of a 1-2 result was short lived. NASCAR announced on Sunday night that both cars failed inspection and for the first time since 1960, a race winner in the Cup Series was disqualified.
Despite not leading a single lap all race, 3rd place finisher Chase Elliott was elevated to the race winner.
NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director Brad Moran said the infraction that led to the disqualification of the top 2 finishers from Sunday’s race was due to the front fascia, or front nose, on both JGR entries being source of the problems.
NASCAR Senior VP of Competition Scott Miller came on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday afternoon and said that they found extra layers of vinyl that were found in the lower fascia, which he described as the bottom part of the nose that attaches to the splitter.
“It was on the lower fascia and it was extra layers of vinyl that deviated the part from the approved CAD files,” Miller said. “It’s standard procedure for post-race inspection to peel vinyl off parts of the car that we feel are critical. We had no inclination prior that there was anything there and were very surprised at what we found.”
All indications that there was an advantage trying to be gained hence to why the tap was there in the first place. More than likely it was drag or aerodynamic gains.
Later on Monday, JGR competition director Wally Brown released the following statement saying that they won’t appear and gave their side to what NASCAR round.
“In our review of the post-race infractions on the 11 and 18 cars at Pocono it was discovered that a single piece of clear tape was positioned over each of the lower corners of the front fascia ahead of the left-front and right-front wheel openings on both those cars. The added pieces were 2 inches wide and 5 ½ inches long with a thickness of 0.012 inches and installed under the wrap. This change in our build process was not properly vetted within our organization and we recognize it is against NASCAR’s rules. We apologize to everyone for this mistake, and we have made changes to our processes to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Toyota put out a statement that read:
“However, as we’ve stated in throughout the Next Gen process, we applaud NASCAR’s hyper-vigilance when it comes to policing the rules on this new car. We have been in close communication with Joe Gibbs Racing and they have acknowledged that the tape added to the front fascia of the No. 11 and No. 18 was not permissible by NASCAR’s rules.
“We stand by the team’s decision not to appeal the disqualifications and also continue to stand by NASCAR’s efforts to keep the playing field fair for everyone competing in the series.”