Monday, Mar 27

Opinion: Time to Stiffen Penalties for Failing Inspections

“I’ll take apart your race cars for three-hundred laps. Then, if you pass inspection and you put your cars back together, I might let you back into the race.”

Those were the famous words in the movie Days of Thunder but strike at the heart of this conversation.

Yet again this week we find ourselves once again with teams unable to get cars through inspection at Kansas. In fact 12 teams were unable to make time for the Go Bowling 400 due to multiple LIS (Laser Inspection Station) inspection issues that have become a reoccurring issue.

First let’s back up on this topic for a little explanation.

Before these teams even bring their cars to the track for the weekend the cars are built and certified by NASCAR by placing RFID measurement points on the chassis. This is for when they roll through the LIS inspection bay they know it’s already been certified and two the measurement points in which the LIS will continue to measure various point on the chassis. For example caster, camber, rear axle location and more.

Prior to the LIS, NASCAR and the inspectors would use up to a dozen different tools to check to measurements using the human eye as its only measuring tool, whereas now the LIS can check within thousandth of an inch for tolerances and read back measurements on a pass fail scale to the inspector.

But since 2013 and with 38 times these teams unload a year it just seems teams continuously push the envelope more and more. We’ve heard it this year about cars missing qualifying at Atlanta, Texas and Auto Club already this year.  Even Scott Miller VP of Competition of NASCAR addressed the situation following qualifying at Kansas.

"I basically told TV that it's fairly disappoint teams can't present their cars appropriately" said Scott Miller  

But the problem isn’t going to get better with taking practice time away from teams as is done now. 10, 15 or 30 minutes of practice from a team who fails the inspection process doesn’t seem to be doing the job. This is becoming a repeated issue the NASCAR officials will need to address.

For starters they will need to start looking into suspending crew chiefs, taking away points and fining teams who hold the process up or fail repeatedly.

For those teams who can’t get it together or who’s whole fleet of cars all have the same issue it’s time for NASCAR to park them in the garage for the weekend tear them apart if and only if they can put it back together and pass inspections to NASCAR satisfaction then maybe let them go and race.

In essence it’s time to step up the penalties against these teams, they are the best at what they do and pushing the envelope comes with the territory. However when they are caught there needs to be consequences especially in light of the fact this is the fourth time in 11 racing events alone this has occurred.

And finally while we do have some drivers who have been somewhat vocal on the LIS inspection process, they must be reminded of the fact that just back at Phoenix this year they were tagged with a penalty for failing LIS while also in 2016 at MIS failed not only pre-race but post-race winners inspection.  

For those interested in learning more about NASCAR and the LIS inspection process check out Building Speed - NASCAR's Laser Inspection Process: Confidence and Accuracy.


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