A NASCAR executive said Monday “it’s fair for us to take a look” at the rule that forced Joey Logano to sit on pit road for an entire 50-minute practice session after his No. 22 Ford failed pre-qualifying inspection four times the day before.
Logano called the rule “a total joke” following the practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The rule was addressed by Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”
O’Donnell said the punishment was under the spotlight because no team had been handed a penalty for an entire practice session.
“So this was the first time we’ve ever had an entire practice (sat out),” O’Donnell said. “The reason the drivers are part of that is to have some teeth in the penalty. If the driver’s not part of that, we felt like teams may purposefully just continue to fail because it’s an entire team penalty and needed everybody to be part of that. We’ve done that many times this year and really hasn’t been a story because it hasn’t been the entire practice.”
Logano had to sit in his car on pit road strapped in with helmet and safety equipment on and the window net up. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was shocked when he learned of the punishment.
Logano was one of 14 drivers who missed practice time Saturday.
O’Donnell predicted the way practice penalties are handled could evolve for next season.
“I think there’s some different things we could look at in the future, maybe not for this year because we want to be fair to the rule that we’ve had in place,” O’Donnell said. “In 2018 you could look at the possibility of a driver going out to start practice and then being pulled off the track or black flagged if it’s a 20-minute penalty or whatever that may be and go that route. One of those things that until it happens in a totality of practice, it becomes more of a story and something to look at. I think it’s fair for us to take a look at that going forward.”