Driver Jimmie Johnson hopes for some clarification from NASCAR on Friday about what he felt was an unjust penalty last week at Phoenix International Raceway.
Johnson was called for a rare “pulling up to pit” penalty during the race. Johnson, who was leading the race at the time, passed the pace car as he entered pit road. Martin Truex Jr. had already done the same thing earlier in the race and was also sent to the rear of the field.
Johnson said Thursday he had yet to talk to NASCAR officials about the penalty, which he said is called inconsistently.
“There’s been enough texting and voice mails back and forth communicating, so I have a better understanding,” Johnson said. “ I still look forward to (Friday) and [understanding] what would lead to that again in the future, and how aggressive they’re going to be in calling that week after week, stop after stop. I think what I got called on happened on more pit stops after my penalty. I just want consistency, is all I’m after.”
▪ Elliott Sadler, one of the Xfinity Series’ final four drivers, was caught with two loose lug nuts after last week’s race at Phoenix. NASCAR suspended crew chief Kevin Meendering for the infraction. Meendering will be replaced by JR Motorsports race operations manager Mike Bumgarner.
▪ Timothy Peters, one of the Truck Series’ final four drivers, has raced this season without a primary sponsor.
“We definitely want color on that truck for sure, and we’ve worked really hard throughout the year to perform on the racetrack to help get notoriety for sure,” said Peters. “We’ve been very consistent. Maybe (Friday) night we can cap off this big championship and attract the eyes of some sponsors and get it on our Tundra going forward in 2017.”
▪ Due to this season’s new charter system, which is similar to the franchise system in other pro sports, Sunday’s Cup Chase winner will likely receive less prize money than champions have in the past.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Kyle Busch, one of the championship-round drivers. “I’ve always raced to achieve what I want to achieve based on success and on results. It hasn’t been for the money, although you do want to get paid for what you do. You do want to get paid well if you’re better at what you do, but ultimately it all comes down to just taking home trophies.”