After a series of controversies to start the 2015 season, NASCAR will crack down on Sprint Cup inspection before qualifying.
In a memo distributed Wednesday afternoon, crew chiefs were warned that any car failing qualifying inspection more than twice would be subject to a 15-minute penalty in practice. The penalty will be in effect Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, where the garage in NASCAR’s premier series was opened at 10 a.m. ET.
At Atlanta Motor Speedway, 13 teams were unable to make qualifying laps because they failed to clear inspection, prompting heavy criticism from four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. Inspection went more smoothly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Paul Wolfe, Brad Keselowski’s crew chief, was put on probation when the No. 2 team was caught altering a fender before qualifying.
Sprint Cup director Richard Buck has said teams are pushing the envelope with a new rules configuration this season, resulting in nearly two dozen teams making multiple visits to inspection stations at Atlanta. Every team was granted at least one attempt at passing inspection.
NASCAR has changed the schedule for Las Vegas, Phoenix and next week at Auto Club Speedway, shortening practice by 10 minutes to provide more time for inspections.