KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Richard Buck, managing director for the Cup Series, talked to the media Saturday morning about the penalty to Kyle Larson’s team from Talladega.
Larson’s team lost both its appeals Friday and Larson is 36 points out of the cutoff spot after the 10-point penalty.
Here is what Buck said:
Q: Last weekend NASCAR told the media there were no issues after post-race inspection and Kyle Larson’s car was not taken back to the R&D Center, so how was the infraction discovered?
Buck: Generally, what we do is when we finish at-track inspection, we let you all know that it’s all clear for the at-track inspection part. Consistent with our process, we go back to the R&D Center and there may be developing issues or more inspection, etc. That’s what took place last week. We took the piece back to the R&D Center from the 42.
Q: What was wrong with the piece?
Buck: Our rules are very specific on the DVP (Damaged Vehicle Policy). The Damaged Vehicle Policy is a collective effort from the industry and it is was heavily weighed upon by all the teams and owners and developed as such and is very detailed and very strict rules. Those rules are very clear. One of the rules that was a part of this process was that on the Damaged Vehicle Policy if you have a panel or a piece, the piece can be replaced in its original position only and it can only be re-attached by bear bond, tape or fasteners, which is screws or rivets. So it’s very clear. We don’t allow any other brackets or panels or flanges or any of that type of stuff. On (Larson’s car), they had an issue with a tire, it damaged the fender, they proceeded to cut the fender off. They went back out, they met the minimum speed for the Damaged Vehicle Policy, so they weren’t on the clock. They decided to straighten the fender out, the piece that they had cut off. They straightened that out and then they re-attached it with two aluminum tabs, two tabs on each one. That’s where the infraction was, was attaching them with the tabs.
Q: What if an official sees something like that happen. Is it the responsibility of the official to stop the team or just let it go?
Buck: “As we always do, our officials are challenged with multiple tasks on pit road. It’s a very dynamic situation out there. If they do see something, they will try to help the teams out, they’ll try to inform the teams, but understand we’re not like other sports. We can’t call a timeout. The teams are on DVP, which is a six-minute clock, there are a limited number of team members over. The teams know the rule very clearly. In fact, the week prior to that, as I often do, I went ahead and sent out a memo, which was exactly that, a reminder of the DVP, we cut and pasted that right out of the rule book. That went to all the crew chiefs, all the car chiefs, team managers and technical directors just as a reminder.”
Q: Since they were no longer on the 6-minute clock, they would have had all the time to repair it?
Buck: Correct. But it says very clearly under the Damaged Vehicle Policy that you cannot replace a panel, you cannot add tabs, it can only be re-attached in its original location, the original part with bear bond, tape or fasteners. It’s very clearly stated.
Q: NASCAR saw the issue after the race and took the part to the R&D Center and the policy is pretty cut and dry, why wasn’t this settled after the race?
Buck: That’s our process. It’s been consistent. We won’t make a decision on that immediately at the race track. We’ll take it back to the R&D Center and do the research on it. That’s our process.