NASCAR competition boss calls points penalty for Truex Jr. ‘unlikely’

Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said that the sanctioning body will follow its normal protocol in reacting to an unapproved left-front jack bolt confiscated Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway from the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota driven by Martin Truex Jr.

But Miller quickly added that it was “unlikely” the infraction would result in a points penalty.

That’s potentially huge given that Sunday’s race at Talladega is third and final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 12 and a penalty to any driver or team with championship aspirations would be devastating.

The part was seized in pre-qualifying inspection for the race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

“They (Furniture Row) had a jack bolt that we didn’t feel like met the specifications that we have in the rule book,” said Miller about 30 minutes after Truex won the pole for the Hellman’s 500 at Talladega.

“Not a real competitive advantage,” Miller said of the seized part.

Typically, NASCAR issues penalties on the Wednesday following the race, so if the sanctioning body decides to act on this, it will be a few days until  a decision is announced.

“What we’ll do with that one is, we’ll take back to the (NASCAR) R&D Center and go through our normal process like we do,” said Miller. “Analyze everything and decide what we’re going to do.”

Miller noted that three Joe Gibbs Racing cars failed pre-qualifying inspection because they didn’t pass template inspections and other cars had inspection issues as well.

“It’s our job to officiate the sport and make sure everything is right,” said Miller. “And this part and the rest of today’s activities are no different than we do every weekend.”

Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn tweeted that the bolt was a simple mistake by the team and gave no competitive advantage.

And the driver said the bold hadn’t been hollowed out, as one media outlet erroneously reported.

“All the crazy talk today going on is nonsense,” Truex said. “It wasn't a hollow jack screw, like some people were saying on Twitter. It was just a part that was machined a little bit wrong, I guess, is what the team told me. And they don't think it's a big issue. Obviously it has not affected our speed any.”