NASCAR executive says points penalty to Martin Truex Jr.’s team ‘would be unlikely’

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — A NASCAR executive says that it would be “unlikely’’ that Martin Truex Jr.’s team faces a points penalty for an improper left front jackscrew but added that officials will “go through our process.’’

Scott Miller, NASCAR vice president of competition, discussed the issue with Truex’s team and with three Joe Gibbs Racing cars Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR confiscated the left front jackscrew from Truex’s car in inspection before qualifying. Crew chief Cole Pearn said the team mistakenly used the wrong jackscrew, noting the other corners of the car were correct.

Truex won the pole for Sunday’s race.

Asked about a possible points penalty to Truex’s team, Miller said: “I would say it would be unlikely but it has to go through our process. We don’t typically do that on a weekend. Because it is the playoffs, everyone has a heightened sense of everything. This is no different than things we have done all year, and we will treat this one like we do all year long.’’

Sunday’s race will trim the Chase field from 12 to eight. Although NASCAR typically does not determine penalties until later in the week, questions could remain on who the eight title contenders are if Truex leaves Talladega with a small margin over the first car that fails to advance.

So could NASCAR complete its “process” before the race begins?

“We don’t have any precedent for doing that,’’ Miller said. “We will be circling up and trying to figure out the best way to proceed from this moment forward until (Sunday’s) race.’’

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota, goes through inspection during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth‘s car goes through inspection during qualifying for the Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Miller also said that the cars of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth had to go back to the garage before making their qualifying attempt because the right-rear quarter panels “appeared to have been messed with around the deck lid.’’

Miller said the infraction “wasn’t big, it never is. Again, we pride ourselves in doing a good job. It doesn’t have to be big to be an infraction. It just has to be fair for everybody and that’s what we strive to do.’’

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

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Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.

 

TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

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Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

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Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.