NASCAR won’t penalize Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson after their cars failed post-race laser inspection Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Instead, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said Wednesday that level P2 and P3 penalties would be eliminated during the Chase, which began at Chicagoland and continues Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Both race-winner Truex and Johnson were hit with minor, P2-level penalties at the laser inspection station after the race, meaning their car tech specifications were slightly out of tolerance.
Truex and Johnson would likely have been penalized 10 points for the infractions. It wouldn’t have affected Truex in the Chase, since he had already qualified for the second round by virtue of his victory. Johnson, however, would have been significantly impacted by the loss of 10 points.
“We recognized those penalties would not have the same impact on competitors in Chase format,” O’Donnell said. “We want to have in place a level playing field for all 40 cars in each event. If applied, this would not treat each competitor fairly.”
Said NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller: “We missed that. It’s something that’s not fair, it’s hard to understand and we’re doing our best to rectify that.”
O’Donnell said a major penalty will remain for LIS violations that are significantly out of tolerance. That means a car would have an “encumbered” victory, and would lose all the benefits of winning (most notably including moving on in the Chase).