rear window penalty

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NASCAR threatens maximum penalties for next rear window violation

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After hitting Kyle Larson‘s team Tuesday with the fifth rear window violation in the Cup Series this season, a NASCAR official said the next penalty will be much harsher.

Senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said NASCAR will issue a maximum L1 penalty — a three-race suspension of a team member, a 40-point deduction and a $75,000 fine — for the next rear-window penalty. By comparison, Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet team lost 20 driver and owner points, car chief David Bryant was suspended two races, and crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $50,000.

“We really got to, as an industry, wind out of ‘Penalty Wednesday,’ and one of the things we’ve seen is all this rear-window stuff,” Miller told SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Dave Moody during a late Tuesday afternoon interview. “It’s not to single the (Larson’s team) out. We’ve had too many of these rear-window violations, and so we are prepared to write the same penalty we’ve been writing for the 42, but this has to stop.

“From this point forward, we’re prepared to ramp up penalties, and we’re going to go to the high end to see if we can get the message across because obviously what we’re doing now is not really working. If we get down the road and that doesn’t work, we’ll ramp the penalties for this violation up even further. It’s just one of those things as an industry we have to stop.”

The penalty range for an L1 penalty is a one- to three-race suspension, a 10- to 40-point deduction and a fine of $25,000 to $75,000. Miller said “Yes, sir,” when asked by Moody if the next penalty would be the maximum in every category.

“I know you guys don’t want to talk about it, the teams don’t want to talk about it, the fans don’t want to hear about it,” Miller said. “This is the first step to us trying to get our arms around it. I would expect the message will be enough to rethink their engineering in that area, but I guess only time will tell.”

This is the second consecutive week that NASCAR has announced penalties three days after the race. Last week, the teams of Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon were dinged for violations at Dover International Speedway.

NASCAR rarely addresses penalties extensively in public, but Miller said an exception was made in this case to send the message to teams.

“What I”m most frustrated about is we’re talking about this and we’re not talking about an exciting event coming up this weekend at the All-Star Race that a lot of work has gone into and not only NASCAR but a huge amount from the teams and engine builders,” Miller said. “I think it’s going to be a really fun event, and we’re not talking about that. I’d like to touch on that for a minute instead of the penalties.”

NASCAR executive addresses Kyle Larson’s rear window issue at Kansas

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Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, has cast doubt on Kyle Larson‘s claim that his rear window was sagging after Saturday’s Cup race due to race damage.

“We see claims of damage, but I think in talking to our folks, I’ve never seen damage cause that,” O’Donnell said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.” “We’ll go back like we always do and thoroughly inspect the car. It’s an area we continue to focus on because the teams know that they found something there and if we have to react, we will, but again, still looking at it.”

Extra attention was paid to Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet following the race at Kansas Speedway. An official kept watch over it on pit road, and it was taken to the R&D Center for additional scrutiny.

The rear window appeared to be sagging, which Larson attributed to damage from an incident with Ryan Blaney with 20 laps to go.

“Definitely (from the damage) because I didn’t have it until after Blaney and I got together, so I’m glad to see that we have a lot of damage back there,” Larson told FS1 after finishing fourth. “Because obviously if there was no damage, we’d probably get a penalty, and who knows we might still, but I got a ton of damage back there.

“These cars are pretty rigid, and one piece of damage can affect the whole rest of the car as you can see, so we’ll see what NASCAR says about it, but I think it’s pretty obvious we have a ton of damage back there.”

NASCAR has issued four penalties for rear window violations this season: Kevin Harvick’s team after a Las Vegas win; Chase Elliott’s team after an 11th at Texas; and Daniel Suarez and Clint Bowyer each lost their car chiefs for two races because of rear window support brace failures at Dover.

O’Donnell was asked about the possibility of news later in the week about Larson’s car.

“I think there’s certainly something you can look for,” O’Donnell said. “With the race teams, no different than rear skew in the past where it was an area teams found that they could work on. Suddenly, it’s become the rear window area.”

Kyle Larson hopes to avoid window penalty because of crash damage

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Kyle Larson‘s No. 42 Chevrolet caught everyone’s attention during Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway, and it was under the watchful eyes of NASCAR officials afterward.

During the FS1 broadcast, a NASCAR official stood behind Larson’s car, which seemed to have a major sag in its rear window. In a postrace interview (video above) Larson was asked by FS1 reporter Jamie Little if the sag was because of a collision with Ryan Blaney on Lap 248 of 267 while battling for third.

“Definitely (from the damage) because I didn’t have it until after Blaney and I got together, so I’m glad to see that we have a lot of damage back there,” Larson said. “Because obviously if there was no damage, we’d probably get a penalty, and who knows we might still, but I got a ton of damage back there.

“These cars are pretty rigid, and one piece of damage can affect the whole rest of the car as you can see, so we’ll see what NASCAR says about it, but I think it’s pretty obvious we have a ton of damage back there.”

A NASCAR spokesperson said Larson’s Camaro was taken to the R&D Center for further postrace inspection, along with Harvick’s Ford, runner-up Martin Truex Jr.‘s Toyota and Paul Menard‘s Ford.

The cars of Harvick and Truex were taken to R&D as the standard top two finishers are, and Menard’s car was the “random” that NASCAR selects. Larson’s car was taken because NASCAR officials decided further scrutiny was needed after the postrace inspection at the track.

NASCAR has penalized drivers and teams multiple times for rear window violations, including Kevin Harvick (who won Saturday at Kansas) after his victory at Las Vegas. Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez were dinged for rear window support brace failures last Sunday at Dover International Speedway, and Chase Elliott also was penalized after an 11th at Texas Motor Speedway.

Larson hung on to finish fourth Saturday after leading 101 laps and picking up his first playoff point with a win in the second stage.

“We just had a really good car tonight,” he said. “Our Chevy was fast. Blaney was side-drafting really hard. I was as high as I could get and made contact.

“I hate we didn’t turn today into a win. It’s satisfying to see how much speed we had in our car tonight. Good to show Chevy has a lot of speed, at least the 42 team. So we’ll just keep working hard and get as fast as (Harvick). I thought myself, (Harvick) and (Blaney) were pretty equal.”