Widespread inspection failures not NASCAR’s fault

If you’re mad at NASCAR officials for 13 cars failing to make a lap in qualifying Friday at Auto Club Speedway, you’re angry at the wrong people.

Getting upset is understandable; everyone wants to see all cars on the track. But blame the race teams, not those trying to keep them within the rules.

NASCAR has vastly improved its technology this year with the new Optical Scanning Station, an inspection system which drivers and crew chiefs alike agree has been much more consistent and reliable than anything NASCAR had in the past.

If a team fails inspection now, there’s little mystery why it happened: Because that team was trying to push the limits as much as possible and went over the line.

NASCAR gives three hours for teams to get through pre-qualifying inspection. Three hours! But when only 12 of the 37 cars pass on the first try, which was the case on Friday, not everyone is going to have time to make it through three times.

All the teams who didn’t get to make a lap? They all had enough time to make at least two passes through inspection. And they failed.

How is that NASCAR’s fault? The answer: It’s not.

Most of the teams now have Optical Scanning Stations in their race shops! They know exactly what can pass and what doesn’t.

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said teams were failing the body scan for a variety of reasons on Friday, but he saw many not passing because of the rear window area.

Hmm. Have you heard anything about that area recently? Ah, right.

Look, Auto Club Speedway is the most aero-dependent track NASCAR has visited so far. So it’s no wonder teams are trying to squeeze all they can out of the rules.

Miller said the number of cars that passed on the first inspection attempt last week was in the mid-20s and had been climbing higher in the last couple races. Clearly, the teams know how to pass the body scan if when they want to.

But they showed up at Fontana trying to get some more speed, and it made a mockery out of qualifying.

“(It) absolutely, 100 percent frustrates me,” Miller said. “We’re in the business of putting on a show for everybody who watches our sport and this is not a great story. So it’s frustrating for me that we can’t seem to get over this hump.”

25 Replies to “Widespread inspection failures not NASCAR’s fault”

  1. I’m one of them not mad at Nascar, Truly I’m not, But there were at least 5 that failed twice and they are getting rewarded starting ahead of some that made it through but with out enough time to get on track, That’s not fair. Why not place them how they make it through Tech not owner points?

  2. Anyone who doesn’t attempt to qualify should be held on pit road for 1 lap during the race. That would get everyone through inspection on the first attempt.

  3. So my question is, other than suspending a car chief and or members of a race team for a particular weekends race., what should NASCAR do to make the teams quit pushing the envelope? I mean I understand why the teams push the limits however In my opinion I feel like there’s more going on then meets the eye! My point is this: Just like today, the teams that did qualify are now at a disadvantage to the teams that didn’t pass inspection & didn’t qualify & now get to get fresher tires & basically no penalties! I just feel that Nascar needs to take yet a bigger stance & a more consistent stance across the board when it comes to this issue! Whether it be taking points away from the teams or something because obviously money & suspensions aren’t doing anything!

    1. Pushing the envelope is what racing is all about. There are too many rules. Everyone worshiped the. great Dale Earnhardt and he pushed the envelope all the time. Stop with the rules and the match box cars. Racing was better without all the rules to “level the playing field” !

  4. It’s funny. People were complaining for years about “Cheatin’ Chad” and others who were getting supposed favors and not racing legal from NASCAR. Then they get mad when the cars don’t pass inspection because they are cheating.


    Sometimes you just kind of have to ignore a lot of the nonsense out there. Anyway……….

    These cars still have to pass inspection before the race. I get why folks think they should be penalized, (go a lap down immediately before the race), but what if these cars/crew chiefs are thinking- “Hey! If we try again, we lose the car chief.”

    Maybe that could explain no third attempts?

    I don’t think the “lap down penalty” would be anything NASCAR would ever think about seriously. The sponsors would have a hissy fit.

    First- these cars have to fix whatever it is that is making them fail before the event, and then starting at the back on a very aero dependent track may take a huge enough toll without any other sanction.

    I also wonder if these cars could be held from final practice unless they pass inspection? If so, that’s a big hit to them as well.

  5. I’m getting tired of hearing, “ well, racers will be racers” I’m tired of hearing “ it’s not fair to the sponsors to park the car for infractions “ this is the most infuriating part of NASCAR, too much engineering, it’s a race car not a airplane, it’s a race not a science project, I wish the hammer was dropped, no inspection, no qualifying, no race, I had enough!!!

  6. I respectfully disagree. NASCAR’s job is to make sure the cars are inspected, legal and ready to run in the qualifying session. They shouldn’t base their process on “best case scenario” where every car passes on the first try. They are aware that this is happening so it’s incumbent upon them to make their inspection process more efficient. I don’t want to see more penalties. I want to see NASCAR stop blaming the teams and fix their own systemic issues.

    1. What are the systemic issues?

      If I go to the smog station and my emissions are X+0.5 PPM out of tolerance, I fail. If I change a part and I’m still X+0.03 PPM out of tolerance, I fail. If this continues until the time my registration expires, it’s not like I blame the DEQ. If every car chief ensured they were on or over the limit, each car would pass first try, and therefore ample time for all vehicles to get through.

  7. I blame NASCAR! It’s their game and they need to solve the problem. I had to stop watching qualifying because my driver didn’t get on the track. Rediculous!

    1. LOL….you blame NASCAR? They didn’t build the car, the team did and if they hadn’t been trying to cheat they’d have made it on the track and you could have watched qualifying.

  8. Think Ricky Craven and Moody said it best. One lap down at start race and start on tires with same laps on them!! Jr agrees should be happening without penalties.

  9. It seems that the high failure rate both pre- and post-race is due to there being no real deterrent and punishment to being caught cheating. I would say that the best solution would be do what certainly all sportscar championships and probably most others throughout the world do: if you miss qualifying – for whatever reason – you start from the pits after every car that actually takes the green flag has completed a lap. And if your car fails post-race, you get thrown out. No points. No prize money. No playoff benefits. And no encumbered-but-it’s-not-but-it-is-really wins.

    NASCAR will say that they want fans to know who the winner is when the leave the track after the race. That line of thinking no longer flies in 2018 when people are surgically attached to their phones and will be all over Twitter or Reddit for hours after the race.

    In a perfect world, if a team repeatedly fails scrutineering week after week, they’d be banned for a race or two. The charter system though means that could end up in legal, restriction of trade type wranglings. So instead just dock them points, maybe the equivalent of three race wins. The punishment needs to be severe if it is to be a worthwhile deterrent.

  10. It’s the team’s choice to try to push the limits of what’s legal and it’s also their responsibility to present a legal car. Every team on pit road knows the rules and knows the process.

  11. Since all charter teams have a guarantee of starting each race:

    1. schedule a single 5-lap qualifying “en masse” session for any cars that did not qualify during the regular qualifying session.

    2. all cars in the 5-lap session must run at least 2 laps at a speed meeting the minimum speed rule, as determined by the qualified cars for that race.

    3. cars that are in this 2nd qualifying session will start at the back of the field, in order of speed, on the tires used for their 5-lap qualifying session.

    4. any car/team that does not participate in the regular qualifying session will be ineligible to earn Stage points for that event.

  12. About time NASCAR started giving penalties to them. As you look many are repeat teams. Big teams. Big names and have had many penalties and suspensions before. ?

  13. If they had “stock car” bodies exactly like the one’s they sell, this issue would be null and void. It amazes me when a pace car leads the field and a race car right behind it looks nothing like it. If you fail pre-race inspection, you load up and go home. It will stop then!

  14. Gonna have to disagree with this entire premise.

    One, I was never one of those guys complaining about “Cheatin’ Chad” or whatever. This sport was built on pushing limits and getting away with crap. Abandoning that so we can use lasers to make sure every car is exactly the same within a fraction of a micron is what’s made this sport boring. And then NASCAR has the audacity to get mad because some fans get sick of the million ways a car can fail an inspection that’s pointless anyway? I’ve never watched this sport because I love the rule book. I started watching in part because I liked seeing what guys can do with duct tape, not because I like watching engineers design a space shuttle.

    I think a lot of people are misdiagnosing the real problem with this weekend. Honestly, I don’t care if a team decides to push the limit and gets whacked. And I don’t care if a team has figured out some way to use the established rules to get an advantage, such as getting to use fresh tires as a reward for not qualifying. NASCAR made that loophole possible when it made the rule book more complicated than the legal code for the Byzantine Empire, and any team would be idiotic not to take advantage of it. It’s NASCAR’s fault for not working out the unintended consequences of its stupid rules.

    I tell you, I’m getting really tired of this sport. If I wanted to watch computer racing, I’d just play a video game.

  15. My warm take on NASCAR Inspection shenanigans: each time they fail tech, -1 lap at the start of the race. Nobody gets ejected, and nobody wastes money. Simple.

  16. Use REAL cars with engines that we can all buy in that REAL car. Add a cage & a good seat & race. I hate present qualifying & stage racing just SUCKS!
    Every step forward by NASCAR is two steps the wrong way.

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