NASCAR has notified teams that they could lose tires for a race as a penalty for further inspection issues.
It was a point Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, made Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Asked about inspection violations, Miller said: “If we continue to have problems, there’s the potential to add more penalties, take tires away, do several different things to kind of make it more painful for the teams not to qualify. We don’t really want to have to do that, but we do have some things in our back pocket in case we continue to struggle.’’
NASCAR mentioned the option of taking tires in a scheduled call with crew chiefs this week.
Teams start races on the tires they used in qualifying except in the Daytona 500. If teams don’t make a qualifying attempt because they couldn’t get through inspection in time, they start on new tires. That can be an advantage compared to cars that qualified and ran a handful of laps on their tires.
Tire management has become more important this year with NASCAR cutting back the sets of tires teams can use in some races. For next month’s race at Kentucky, teams will be limited to nine sets. Last year, they were allowed 10 sets for that event. Teams will be allowed 10 sets in the season finale in Miami. Last year, teams were allowed 12 sets for that race.
Even with nine sets of tires last weekend at Dover — the same as last year — a series of early cautions led teams to bypass pit road at times to save tires for later in the race.
Although all Cup teams passed inspection in time to qualify last weekend at Dover, that hasn’t been the case at some tracks.
- Eleven cars failed to pass inspection in time to make a qualifying attempt last month at Kansas Speedway.
- Nine cars failed to make a qualifying attempt in April at Texas Motor Speedway because they did not pass inspection in time.
- Five cars did not make a qualifying attempt at Atlanta in March because they did not pass inspection in time.
- Two cars failed to pass inspection in time to qualify last month for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Teams also have been penalized practice time or the loss of pit stall selection for failing inspection before qualifying.
Matt Kenseth’s team lost its pit stall pick last weekend at Dover for failing pre-qualifying inspection multiple times. Erik Jones’ team lost its pit stall pick at Las Vegas for pre-qualifying inspection issues there.