Brad Moran

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Appeal hearing for Niece Motorsports set for Wednesday morning

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NASCAR announced that the appeal for Niece Motorsports will be heard at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday.

The Gander Outdoors Truck Series team took the checkered flag first with driver Ross Chastain on Sunday at Iowa Speedway only to have the victory taken away when the truck failed inspection after the race.

Brad Moran, managing director of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series said after the race: “We have a procedures and rules in place, trucks are restricted on their ride heights at the front and rear of the vehicles. Unfortunately, the 44 (Chastain’s truck) was low on the front, extremely low.

“We have a process of what happens at that point. They do get an opportunity to roll around. They put fuel in the vehicle, they air the tires. Give them at least five to 10 minutes. Check them a second time. Unfortunately, the 44 did not rise on the front at all.”

The team stated it would appeal and blamed “minor damage during the event” for the truck being too low.

When NASCAR announced before this season that winning vehicles that didn’t pass inspection would have the win taken away, series officials also announced an expedited appeals process.

That will allow the appeal to be completed this week before the Truck Series races this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Unlike other appeals, where a team or individual can appeal a penalty and then appeal again if they lose the first appeal, there is just one appeal hearing in an expedited matter.

NASCAR disqualifies Ross Chastain’s winning truck for failing inspection

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For the first time since NASCAR instituted a rule before this season that a winning vehicle would be disqualified if it failed inspection, Ross Chastain‘s winning Truck Sunday at Iowa Speedway failed inspection and was disqualified.

Brett Moffitt, who crossed the finish line second, was declared the winner and also gets the $50,000 bonus for winning a Triple Truck Challenge race.

Chastain’s truck was found to be too low in the front.

MORE: Updated race results  

MORE: Updated points report

Chastain’s team, Niece Motorsports, announced Sunday afternoon that it would appeal the decision. In a statement from team owner Al Niece, he said that Chastain’s truck “sustained minor damage during the event, which left the truck too low following the race.”

That appeal process will be expedited. Should the team lose that appeal, they cannot appeal the decision any further based on section 14.6.f of the rule book, which states:

“In a Race Disqualification Appeal, the decision of the Panelist, which could be an Appeals Panelist, FAO, or his/her alternates, under Section 14 Appeals to the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel, will be considered final and there is no ability to appeal the decision to the Final Appeals Office as outlined in Section 15 Final Appeal to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.”

Brad Moran, managing director of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series said after the race: “We have a procedures and rules in place, trucks are restricted on their ride heights at the front and rear of the vehicles. Unfortunately, the 44 (Chastain’s truck) was low on the front, extremely low.

“We have a process of what happens at that point. They do get an opportunity to roll around. They put fuel in the vehicle, they air the tires. Give them at least five to 10 minutes. Check them a second time. Unfortunately, the 44 did not rise on the front at all.”

Here is the section in the rule book on ride heights:

Chastain was a part of Motor Racing Network’s broadcast of the Xfinity race on Sunday and addressed what happened in the Truck race to his team.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It was tough to walk up here (to the radio booth) across the frontstretch and walk by victory lane and where everything has happened, yeah, they took it away from us. It’s an old rule that they stand by and … the lower series of all the divisions still go by ride height rules and Cup Series has gotten away from it but we were just too low. The truck wouldn’t come back up. I’m not sure why. They wouldn’t let us look under the hood or anything. It went through (inspection) before the race.

“In any race car these days … it’s been this way for the last 25 years, the lower you get it, the better it handles. We, as racers and the race teams, our trucks, when we go around the race track are scraping the ground even though our ride height rules (are higher than that). You go through tech pre-race and it has to be up at that predetermined amount.

“As soon as we get into the truck and I come off pit road, every race truck in the field and race car in this Xfinity Series, it falls down on the ground and you race right scraping the ground. That’s why we have splitters and our side skirts are made to wear so that we can handle the bumps and still have the aero platform we want. Then, whenever you come in, you’re supposed to have it where it automatically comes back up. It’s just physics and mechanical parts and something on ours just didn’t push quite hard enough.

“I don’t know what the problem was, but we still won that race. Like you said, we won both stages, we led a ton of laps. It’s still a dream come true, but, yeah, they took it away. It’s kind of ironic now that we’re sitting next to NASCAR (officials) up here in the booth.”

This is Moffitt’s first win of the season and the eighth of his career. Ben Rhodes finished second and Harrison Burton placed third. Moffitt did not lead any of the race’s 200 laps. Chastain led 141. Racing Insights has no record of a winner in NASCAR ever leading zero laps but notes that lead lap information in the 1950s and ’60s is incomplete.

“It’s a big change of emotions and obviously this is not the way I want to win it as a race car driver, I still know I got beat on track, which is frustrating,” Moffitt said. “Back in the beginning of the year when NASCAR implemented this system, it was to clear up the Tuesday disqualifications and the encumbered wins and let the fans know and everyone else know who actually won the race. I’d still would rather take the checkered and be the first one to it, but I’ll take a win anyway I can get it and that solidifies our playoff spot.”

Moffitt said he was on the way to the airport when his team called him and told him to return to the track.

Should Chastain’s team not win the appeal, it could prove devastating to his playoff hopes. He changed what series he scored points in from Xfinity to Trucks on June 4. Chastain needs a victory in the last six regular-season races and be in the top 20 in points to be eligible for the playoffs.

With the disqualification, Chastain is listed as finishing last (32nd) and receives last-place points (five) instead of 60 he would have gotten. He loses all the points (and playoff points) for the win and also loses the stage and playoff points for winning both stages.

Chastain has 43 points. He’s 69 points behind Josh Reaume, who is 20th in the season standings.

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NASCAR makes personnel changes to competition executive team

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NASCAR announced six personnel changes to its competition executive team on Tuesday.

The changes include the promotion of Elton Sawyer to vice president of officiating and technical inspection, and the addition of John Probst in the role of managing director of competition and innovation.

Sawyer, who comes from being the managing director of the Camping World Truck Series, will oversee multiple areas of NASCAR including inspection/officiating; officials training and development; and the events and transportation groups. He will continue to report to Scott Miller, senior vice president of competition.

Probst joins NASCAR after serving as technical director for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, a role he held previously at Red Bull Racing. Probst also spent more than 11 years as engineering supervisor at Ford Motor Company. His role with NASCAR will include oversight of several competition and innovation projects.

The other changes include:

  • Brad Moran has been named managing director of the Truck Series, replacing Sawyer. Moran served a similar capacity over the NASCAR Touring Series.
  • Brandon Thompson will become senior director of touring series, transitioning into Moran’s former role. Thompson joined NASCAR in 2012 and his roles have included the coordination and administration of weekly race activities.
  • George Grippo will join the competition team as managing director of competition technology and timing & scoring. He provided oversight of NASCAR Productions’ Technology Field and Media Operations department as its managing director since September 2013.
  • Jusan Hamilton will become manager of racing operations & event management. He joined NASCAR in 2012 before transitioning full-time in 2013 to its Integrated Marketing Communications operation.

“With today’s announcement, NASCAR has aligned the Competition department to meet the ever-changing and challenging needs of a highly competitive sports landscape,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, in a press release. “We’re delighted to see the growth of a number of our colleagues throughout the company, as well as welcoming a new one with a long history in the industry.”