NASCAR disqualifies top two cars, Chase Elliott is Pocono winner

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NASCAR has declared Chase Elliott the winner of Sunday’s Cup race after the cars of the top two finishers, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, both failed post-race inspection.

“We were shocked to learn of the infraction that caused our two cars to fail NASCAR’s post-race technical inspection,” car owner Joe Gibbs said in a statement Sunday night. “We plan to review every part of the process that led to this situation.”

This is the first time since NASCAR instituted a disqualification policy in 2019 that a Cup winner has been disqualified.

The Associated Press reported that NASCAR believed the last time it disqualified an apparent winner was April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank. Joe Weatherly was declared the winner of that race.

Hamlin was credited with 35th. Busch was credited with last in the 36-car field.

Joe Gibbs Racing can appeal the penalty. NBC Sports has reached out to a spokesperson for the team. The team has until 12 p.m. ET Monday to file an appeal. A hearing will be expedited and likely heard Wednesday of Thursday. It would be NASCAR’s goal to have the matter resolved before next Sunday’s Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

NASCAR found an issue with the front fascia of both cars, stating there was material there that should have not been.

Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series, told the media in Pocono that the issue discovered impacts the “aero of the vehicle.”

He also said that “there really is no reason why there was some material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been. That does basically come down to a DQ.”

Moran said NASCAR would take both vehicles to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. The cars will be further inspected there.

NASCAR stated it could not go into many details because the penalty can be appealed.

NASCAR did state that this issue was found in post-race inspection because that is when NASCAR removes a portion of the car’s wrap as part of the teardown. NASCAR does not remove a car’s wrap in pre-race inspection.

The announcement was made about two hours after Hamlin crossed the finish line ahead of Busch.