News Analysis: Joey Logano’s win at Richmond ruled encumbered

What happened: NASCAR discovered a major infraction on Joey Logano’s  winning car during post-Richmond inspection at its Research and Development Center, resulting in a huge penalty for the No. 22 team. Logano’s victory was ruled “encumbered,” which means he cannot use it to qualify for the NASCAR playoffs this fall, nor does he get the five playoff points for it. In addition, Logano was docked 25 regular season points and crew chief Todd Gordon was suspended for two races and fined $50,000.

What it means: This is the first time since the “encumbered” term entered the NASCAR lingo last fall that it’s really had playoff implications. This will be a key moment if Logano somehow misses the playoffs (unlikely) or turns out to need those five playoff points sometime this fall (more likely). Logano still gets the trophy and is the official winner of the race, just without the playoff benefits.

News value (scale of 1-10): Eight. This is pretty big, but you know what would be bigger? If NASCAR did the right thing and actually stripped the win entirely. Why should an illegal car still be allowed to keep the win? I’ll never truly understand that.

Questions: How much longer can NASCAR refuse to take the win away, especially when the race winner’s car is illegal enough for this severe of penalty? Is there any chance Logano’s championship hopes will be affected by this, or will he just shrug it off? Did NASCAR officials find this by chance, or were they looking for it?

This is a screenshot from the NASCAR rulebook. NASCAR said Logano’s team violated No. 6 on the list above. (From NASCAR rulebook)

30 Replies to “News Analysis: Joey Logano’s win at Richmond ruled encumbered”

  1. Gee I don’t know why attendance and ratings are down. Pit road penalties taking a win chance away, lug nut violations, post race penalties. Not to mention invisible debris cautions to make a boring race start over.

  2. Did this have anything to do with the new transmission they had to put in? Could it have been an oversight? Seems a little too obvious for an deliberate act……am I being too optimistic?

    1. Think you are being too optimistic…….this kind of infraction, from watching racing since 1978 usually means they were definitely skirting a rule to get an edge and got caught……not the first team or won’t be the last team to try it.

    2. Unfortunately Karen I believe you’re being too optimistic. Every team on track is trying to get the rear end to rotate when under load, and to return to “center” without manually going under the car after the race. That is why last year I believe it was they told drivers to stop swerving after the race/qualifying because changing the load to the left side of the car returns the rear end to a legal place. Most likely it would have look good at the track but at the R&D center they probably either found obvious wear that pointed to this shift or put the car under load to recreate the infraction.

    3. Yes you are. He knew it was going to be a issue as did his teammate Brad. That’s why you seen the both of them stabbing the gas & down shifting the car really hard in hopes to get the reserve end to fall in place. It was so plan to see that mike joy and Darrel Wallace and others actually commented on it. They been st this for awhile and this time they got caught bc the post race cool down laps and the swerving and hard down shifting wasn’t enough to get the rear end moved enough that it would be legal.

      1. Then why wasn’t Matty’s care brought and tore down? HMMM?????????? Every care every race if you really want to tear down all, YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING.

        My boss told me one day, no matter how perfect you are as an employee, they can ALWAYS find something if they wanted to to write you up or fire you. Something as your work time starts at 8:00 and you come in at 8:01. TECHNICALLY and the term is TECHNICALLY…YOU ARE LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. If NASCAR doesn’t do something it basically opens the door to let other teams push towards illegal wins and sets the tone of favoritism to certain teams. The new culture with Monster sponsoring the series is great but with the ever changing NASCAR cup series it seems one thing needs to be solid and firm. That’s holding teams accountable to the rule book.

    1. You are years late to the Captain Obvious party..where have you been? NASCAR has been letting their favorites slide for years. FORDS ARE NOT ONE OF THEM! Did you not watch the folly of last year with Toyotas, this is a baby nap compared to last year!

  4. I’ve wondered for years why a winner is not striped of the win when the car fails post race inspection. A level playing field should be maintained.

  5. Just like Cole Pearn’s sarcastic tweet on Sunday about commitment line violations “really putting you on the edge of your seat,” this is another example of NASCAR’s slow death by a thousand cuts. Fans want rules. Everybody wants a transparent, level playing field. But there should be way more room for teams to innovate inside the gray area — and also a much more obvious red line beyond which every aspect of a win is vacated entirely (namely, manipulating tires, fuel or engines). This “encumbered victory” is a half-assed slap on the wrist that only reinforces NASCAR’s bad habit of moving the goalposts every other week. No wonder the fans are leaving in droves.

      1. By all means, please enlighten us then. Why are the fans leaving? Excuse me, what I meant to say was, “WHY ARE THE FANS LEAVING? SORRY.”

  6. Can of worms comes to mind…or pandora’s box … this was destined to happen at some point when Nascar hedged their bet with the “encumbered finish”

  7. Simple and not new! If NASCAR let’s this slide it will get out of hand. This has nothing to do with ratings. Teams have cheated since day 1. It’s like holding in the NFL. Taking away the win is messy. Who wants to find out they won a week later?

  8. I cannot fathom why NASCAR considers Logano the Richmond cup race winner in any way considering the infraction.

  9. NASCAR should take away the win, take bak the purse money and the points (x2).
    Fines, CC suspensions, and “encumber” stuff…is a slap in the wrist.

  10. You ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin…..

    Not a Logano fan at all, but that “grey area” is being pushed, exposed and blatantly challenged every week by every team. This isn’t anything new and I applaud NASCAR for making it hurt with the penalties. Who cares who won the “Whatever 500”? Hit them where it hurts with the playoff births and playoff points. NASCAR’s answer to fighting The NeverEnding battle. Step in the right direction.

    1. “Who cares?” Lots of drivers, past and present. There is a record book, and a “List of All Time Winners.” Richard Petty is on top. We see Daryl Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Cale Yarborough, Richard Pearson, Jimmie Johnson. Names at the top. But around mid-pack is Joey Logano, climbing the record list toward the top, passing other drivers, with his “encumbered win,” but the record does not show it. Catch a team cheating? Strip the win! It is the principle.

  11. I can understand why the win wasn’t taken away entirely if you consider the sponsors. Think about all the people that may have been at Richmond in the winners circle that belong companies who sponsor the 22. As far as they, and we knew, Logano won the race fair and square, until today.

    Taking away the win gets messy when it already happened. I would suggest that a driver that gets a win in a car that fails post race inspection to this degree should get pulled for the following week’s race. Let the team race, but with a different driver.

    It’s hard to take away a win when it already happened. Penalize the driver after the fact, which also would hamstring the team, but the sponsors still have a car on the track and don’t have to toss out the pictures and hats they got in Victory Lane the week before.

    1. I agree it would be a mess and as Jeff Hammond & Bobby Labonte said on Race Hub it’s never been done before . But I can’t agree on taking the driver out of the car either. They don’t build the car or set it up at the track.

      I understand your point, that a message has to be sent to the teams but the driver’s are the innocent ones in all these cases of “pushing the limit.”

      What is the answer?? I have no idea.

  12. What’s not clear is do they keep the winner’s points (40 something points) and just lose the 25 points. Or do they lose both.

  13. Is this a similar infraction to the one Penske was found to have a few years ago?

  14. I’m still waiting on the 👍🏻👎🏻 button Jeff. There are so many posts I would love to give a thumbs up to.

  15. Well, my big beef is NASCAR has their favorite children, the rest are red headed steps. Will they do this going forward with the teams they always prefer and will their ball sack be there when integrity counts?

    One question however, seeing this was basically a “short track” did this horror of horrors of this infraction (GOD AWFUL) give him a advantage to win? My gut says no. Again, whatever..this will not be an issue going forward, he will win again, and be in the stupid “PLAYOFF”.

    Some get caught, and others don’t..and again what is tolerance on what scale, and who deems it intentional or a product of racing and running. So many questions, so many never to be answered! Find it funny though the Daddy Yard stick comes out for Fords, they have been spanking the field, and that should not happen..ever!

  16. Since NASCAR enacted the “encumbered victory” LAST year, NASCAR should encumbered the 48’s win at Homestead last year for intentionally and illegally modifying the 48’s “A” pillar “between” inspections at Homestead, he should get a 25 point penalty making the 22 the Champion by 22 pints since he lost by 3 points to the cheating 48 team, what is fair is fair. But wait it is a Chevy so its ok, NASCAR allowed a team to cheat in between inspections and win a Championship but this 0.03125″ gap that “WAS NOT” present during pre inspection(s) was hammered. Typical NASCAR, Hendricks do as you please we will smack down anyone who out runs you.

  17. I think the NASCAR policy that fans should leave the track knowing who won the race (those who stick around until the end, anyway) is the correct one. Racing is legislated to death. I’m not going to pretend to be an engineer, so I can’t speak to the merits of all the unapproved modifications but I’ve been to some pretty crappy races over the years that left me feeling pretty ripped off. I was at the Brickyard the year of the tire fiasco. It would be worse, though, if I got back home from a weekend at the track and then found out after everything else that the whole event I witnessed was re-written after the fact. That makes no sense. It’s like the NCAA policy of making teams vacate wins years after the fact. If I were a fan of one of those teams, I’d know damn good and well won on the field. When it’s over, it’s over.

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