By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Hours after bringing home his best finish of the season with a runner-up result in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson received the news that his No. 48 Chevrolet failed post-race inspection, resulting in a disqualification.
The disqualification drops Johnson to last in the running order for Sunday’s race and means he will also have to start the next Cup Series race, which takes place on Wednesday at Charlotte, from the tail end of the field.
NASCAR Cup Series managing director Jay Fabian explained that Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports Camaro had failed the rear alignment numbers when the car was rolled through the Optical Scanning Station as a part of normal post-race inspection for the top finishers.
“The failure was rear alignment,” said Fabian. “It’s the same thing that we check at least a handful of cars for post-race after every event. I can’t really give specifics on the numbers.
“There is a pre-race number and a post-race number that does give a pretty decent tolerance. It was outside of those post-race numbers.
“In the OSS, once that box turns red, it’s exactly like a speeding penalty. There is no turning back from that.”
Johnson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels took to Twitter to acknowledge the disqualification, noting that he thought the issue was with a possible parts failure, but wouldn’t know for sure until the team was able to get the car back to the shop.
Disappointed about our post-race OSS. We think something must’ve broken but won’t know until we get it back to the shop tomorrow and can diagnose. Tough news after a strong night. This team is getting stronger We are focused forward. We’ll be back Wednesday with another great car
— Cliff Daniels (@DanielsCliff) May 25, 2020
“The 48 ran strong tonight all night. I hate it for them,” Fabian added. “They had a good car, performed well.
“But, yeah, the allowance is built in for parts that move. There’s an allowance for that. But if parts break, you know, the number is the number. There is no real parameter outside of that.
“There’s parts in the past that have been designed to failure break. Certainly not suggesting that’s the case here. But that’s what’s gotten us to this hardline of this is a post-race number and there is a fair tolerance from pre-race numbers to post.”
Fabian went on to explain that the team would have the right to appeal the disqualification, but with the next race just three days from now, it would be on an accelerated timeline. He added that he did not have the specifics on when that might take place.
“So they do have a standard right to appeal, just like any penalty,” Fabian said. “I would have to follow up, with the crazy schedule, like you said, with the rule book to see exactly when that deadline is because it’s 2 in the morning eastern time. I would have to verify when that appeal deadline is.”