NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte explained why Jimmie Johnson was not penalized when his pit crew tightened a lug nut while he was outside his pit box last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Johnson’s case was at least the third instance — and second involving Johnson — in the playoffs of such a situation. In all cases, NASCAR did not penalize the team.
The instances Letarte detailed were Denny Hamlin at Chicagoland in the playoff opener, Johnson at New Hampshire and Johnson at Charlotte.
NASCAR has remained consistent on the calls, saying that because the cars were attempting to return to their pit box after leaving to fix a safety issue.
Johnson’s incident at Charlotte seems to have caused the most concern among fans, but again, NASCAR ruled the No. 48 team did nothing wrong by having Johnson back up, even though his front end was over the pit box line – as long as it was for tightening a loose lug nut or lug nuts.
See the video above to further illustrate NASCAR’s consistency in applying the lug nut/safety rule exception.