NASCAR ejected the car chiefs for both Jimmie Johnson‘s team and Ross Chastain‘s team after both cars failed inspection three times before Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The car chief for Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports team is Jesse Saunders.
The car chief for Chastain’s Premium Motorsports team is Lee Leslie.
NASCAR confirmed no other teams faced such sanctions Sunday.
Dale Jr., NBC analysts weigh in on rear window of Kevin Harvick’s car
At least one team and many others on social media took notice of the rear window of Kevin Harvick’s winning car in Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
During the race, Chase Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson discussed the rear window of Harvick’s No. 4 Ford.
With about 100 laps to go, Gustafson asked Elliott if he saw the rear window of Harvick’s car and how it appeared bowed.
“The right side of the glass, yep kind of … between the orange jack screw and the black lining, it’s bowed from the right side of the jack screw over.’’
Gustafson responded and estimated that when Harvick’s car was at speed, the window pushed down 2-3 inches. Listen to the audio of their conversation in a clip below from Monday’s NASCAR America:
They weren’t the only ones talking about it. Some on social media posted pictures of the rear window and raised questions about what might be causing it.
NBC analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett added their opinions during Monday’s NASCAR America.
“We heard about Chase Elliott seeing this particular instance on the 4 car, bringing it up to his crew chief,’’ Earnhardt said on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, which will be released Tuesday. “That’s common, too. I spent the last five years of my career telling my crew chief anything I saw on a car that I thought might help that car around me – where his track bar looked like it was, is his track bar high on the right side or low on the right side or the left side … does he look like he’s making skew somewhere? Does he have something flared?’’
Earnhardt related how he’d see cars with roof flaps open on speedways.
“You’d see cars out there running around with the roof flap about half an inch up in the air and when the car would slow down they would come back down just because they had found a way to change the pressure inside the car versus what was on the outside. At speed, it raised that flap up. This isn’t new. I think what we’re seeing out of Harvick’s car in these pictures is new in that space, which makes it so interesting to everybody who sees it.’’
Petty’s take on the matter:
“When Dale (Jarrett) and I raced … I would look at his car. If he was doing something, I’m not going to turn him in, I’m not going to put it on social media, I’m going to do it to my car so I can go out there and try to run as good as Dale Jarrett runs.
“It’s a different time now with so many cameras, with so many people out there. Having said that, if anybody watching NASCAR America or in NASCAR believes that Rodney Childers is that big of an idiot to do something that he can’t get back, that he’s going to go out and just blatantly throw it out there in front of people, that’s not Rodney Childers. Rodney Childers is above board, a great guy, has integrity. The way he looks at it, he wants to go outrun you heads up.’’
Petty said he didn’t believe there was any intent to what happened to the rear window of Harvick’s car.
Jarrett also had his opinion:
“You would have to think that there’s no reason for them to go this far, to be this noticeable. Probably an area they worked in starting last year to find something that they could lean on because that’s what they complained of with the Fords last year, was that they just couldn’t go through the corners and carry the speed that they wanted to.
“When something is this noticeable, as Kyle was just saying, probably something went wrong with what they were doing there that made it this noticeable. I don’t think they’re going to put themselves out there for anything like it.’’