Friday, April 27, 2012

RCR and Turner Nationwide teams in trouble with NASCAR

The NASCAR Nationwide teams of Richard Childress Racing and Turner Motorsports altered the contoured areas surrounding the wheel hubs of their nose pieces, which are provided by manufacturers.

All three RCR teams and all three Turner teams had the upper front bumper covers of their cars confiscated by NASCAR during opening inspection on Thursday at Richmond International Raceway.

Any penalties will be announced next week for the cars driven by Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick with RCR and James Buescher, Justin Allgaier and Kasey Kahne with Turner.

The nose pieces, or upper front bumper covers, are designed by manufacturers and approved by NASCAR. The Nationwide Series rulebook states "cutting and reshaping of bumper covers will not be permitted."

Series director Joe Balash said the RCR teams had changes made on both sides of the nose piece, while the Turner teams were altered on just one side.

Balash said he wasn't sure why the changes were limited to one manufacturer.

"Sometimes there are different trends in the garage. Sometimes they cross manufacturers and sometimes they don't," Balash said.

Balash said NASCAR's concern with the teams is altering a piece of the car which has to be run "as-is."

A visual inspection of one of the Turner team's nose pieces showed a complete absence of the contoured area around the left wheel hub, compared to a generic manufacturer piece.
The rulebook allows NASCAR officials the ability to use bumper covers provided by manufacturers as a guide in determining whether a competitor's bumper cover conforms to specifications.

Sadler contended NASCAR officials confiscated the pieces through a visual inspection, not by measuring by templates. The rulebook, however, allows for such a determination.

Sadler, currently the series points leader, has potentially the most to lose with a sizable NASCAR penalty.

"It's the same car I've run already twice this year and passed post-race tech since we won both races," Sadler said. "We don't really know what is going to happen."