Another week, another NASCAR penalty. Following last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway, both Austin Dillon and Ryan Preece’s cars were the two taken back to the Concord R&D Center. Preece’s car passes the additional inspection. Dillon’s, unfortunately didn’t.
NASCAR found that the team had violated the assembled vehicle rules to the underwing assembly and hardware. As a result, of that, NASCAR handed Dillon’s team an L-1 penalty
Under the guidelines, the team and driver have each lost 60 points, five playoff points as well as seeing crew chief Keith Rodden suspended the next two weeks and fined $75k.
The penalty is a massive one for a team like Dillon’s. He sat 21st in points before the penalty. However, he lost 32.9% of his accumulated points in just one penalty.
Dillon had 182 points scored through nine weeks. With the 60-point deduction, he now has 122. That drops him nine spots down to 30th. He’s 84 points below the 16th place cutline. He was averaging 20.2 points per race prior, so with being that far down, he’s never going to make the postseason the way things were already going.
His 12th place finish at Martinsville was his third best result of the season. 6 of his 9 finishes have seen him finish 16th or worse. Mix that with just 27 stage points and no playoff points, then you can see the massive hill that Dillon is going to have to climb.
Basically, he’s going to be forced to win a race in the final 17 weeks of the regular season to get in. Even so, if he doesn’t score multiple wins or even take a stage win, he’ll be at zero in the playoff point department since he sits at -5 now.
That and not being able to climb into the top 10 in points for the extra playoff points bonus for those that do, makes a long shot for Dillon to not only get into the playoffs, but to mount a charge to even get out of the opening round without winning again too.