Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Report: NASCAR taking closer look at 33
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR was taking a closer look at Clint Bowyer's race-winning car from New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to two people familiar with the inspection process.
The No. 33 Chevy passed its initial inspection following Sunday's victory, but NASCAR discovered issues with the car in a more thorough inspection at its research and development center, say the people familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the car was still being inspected.
The development came a day after NASCAR called in Richard Childress Racing officials to warn them that Bowyer's Chase-clinching car from Richmond had nearly failed inspection because its back end was very close to the mandated limits.
"They were in the box, but getting close to some of the tolerances and we asked them to come in to see if they aren't getting off on one of their build sheets," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Tuesday.
The car was chosen by NASCAR for random inspection following Bowyer's sixth-place finish in the Sept. 11 race. The run gave him the 12th and final spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, which began Sunday in New Hampshire.
Bowyer snapped an 88-race losing streak in the Chase opener, vaulting him to second in the standings, 35 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Though NASCAR does not typically strip wins from drivers, a car that fails inspection would result in a significant points penalty and a lengthy suspension for the car's crew chief.
Sunday's victory was the first at the Cup level for Shane Wilson, Bowyer's crew chief.
Even if Bowyer's car had failed inspection after Richmond, it wouldn't have changed the Chase field.
The penalty for failed inspections runs anywhere from 50 to 100 points, and Bowyer had a 142-point cushion over Ryan Newman at the end of the Richmond race.