News Analysis: Kyle Larson penalty costs him points lead

What happened: Kyle Larson’s team was hit with a significant penalty on Wednesday after NASCAR discovered an infraction during its post-race teardown following the Kentucky Speedway race. Larson crew chief Chad Johnston was suspended for three races and fined $75,000 while the team lost 35 points — this after NASCAR found the No. 42 team violated a rule that says: “Openings in the rear brake cooling hoses and/or tubes to exhaust air between the inlet and exhaust mounting points will not be permitted.”

What it means: Larson, who was up by one point over Martin Truex Jr. in the standings, is now 34 points out of the lead. That’s a big blow, because the regular season champion gets an additional 15 playoff points while second place gets 10. The difference between the two is the equivalent of a race win.

News value (scale of 1-10): Four. It’s noteworthy in that the penalty affects the regular season points battle, but there’s still enough time (eight races) for Larson to recover — especially with stage points in the mix. It would be a bigger deal if this occurred in the playoffs or if Larson had won the Kentucky race and the encumbered finish meant something.

Three questions: How much did this have to do with Larson’s impressive speed at Kentucky? If this was a performance advantage, will Larson now be slower in upcoming races? Will the points penalty itself turn out to play a role in the playoffs should Larson miss out on those five extra playoff points?

This image from the NASCAR rulebook depicts a proper rear brake cooling assembly. The infraction in question took place in the hoses shown in the upper right (I-2). (Screenshot from NASCAR rulebook)

7 Replies to “News Analysis: Kyle Larson penalty costs him points lead”

  1. Was Larson’s inspection troubles for Qualifying and Pre-Race related to these Brake hoses or not?

    1. I don’t think making the car faster or not is any part of the criteria. It’s against the rules, you get a penalty. See: KyBu tire falling off.

  2. Bob Pockrass said the pre-Qualifying and Pre-Race inspection problems for the #42 did not involve the Brake hoses. The #42 was the last car through inspection both times in Kentucky.

    Maybe their failing inspection was a way to keep the inspectors busy not looking at their brake ducts.

  3. Presumably this modification was to help evacuate the air under the car and create more to enforce, so it would not have caused an issue with the LIS inspection system as all modifications were inside the body.

  4. Wednesday is the biggest day outside of race weekend! It change everything when you lose your crew chief & the edge that you had on track.

    Toyota Chevy Ford all had major penalties this year. What is the process if you find a grey area in the rulebook,can you present your innovation to Nascar R&D in Charlotte during the week? it’s only possible during race weekend through tech inspection?

    I’ve been through tech inspection before & with the new LIS system.Everybody is pushing the limit, i saw a team 7 times through it! The technical inspection should be webcast on Nascar.com .It would give us a better understandaing of the process the affect the quality of the racing.

  5. The cry babies, the big four and Nascar, can’t except the fact that Larson is a very ,very skillful driver. I could not believe my eyes when Nascar impounded Larsons tires ,that trick is from from the 80’s back in the old ASA days ,those guys were not even born yet, go Kyle show them your real skills. #96

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