By Michael Guzman, Contributing Writer
Martin Truex Jr. may have secured the pole for tomorrow’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega SuperSpeedway, but questions still remain if the championship contender will advance tomorrow only to be penalized later next week after an inspection incident prior to qualifying this weekend.
NASCAR confiscated the left front jack screw from Truex’s machine prior to qualifying, complicating the playoff picture as Truex enters tomorrow’s race 13 points ahead of the Chase cutoff.
Motorsport.com broke the story and said “a penalty of this nature would fall under a P3 or P4 level depending on how NASCAR views the infraction. Although the NASCAR would not speculate on the penalty, officials confirmed the part had been confiscated.”
That being said, both crew chief Cole Pearn and Truex were unfazed ahead of tomorrow’s race, stating the part was not hollow but confiscated due to a manufacturing error.
“All the crazy talk going on today is nonsense,” Truex Jr. said at his post-qualifying press conference. “People speculate on things and really don’t know what they are. The jack bolt issue is not really a big deal; it’s not hollow like what was reported. They didn’t take both; they just took the left front so it’s not a big issue.”
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller addressed Truex’s issue after qualifying had concluded; adding that penalties are normally announced Tuesday but NASCAR may close this issue prior to tomorrow’s race due to the playoff implications of this week’s race.
Miller said that the confiscated part did not cause a competitive advantage but added that a potential points penalty was “unlikely”, but that the part still has to go “through our process” at NASCAR’s R&D Center in Charlotte.
“We pride ourselves on trying to do a good job,” Miller told NBC Sports. “It doesn’t have to be big to be an infraction, it just has to be fair for everybody and that’s what we strive to do.”
All cars, including Truex Jr., passed post-qualifying inspection.