By David Morgan, Associate Editor
UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after slamming Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske team with a disqualification following Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR has reversed course and restored his sixth-place finish.
On Monday afternoon, NASCAR sent out a statement noting that it was a discrepancy in the templates used during the post-race inspection that led to the original penalty.
“After further review of the inspection process throughout this weekend’s events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR has rescinded the No. 12 disqualification penalty,” the sanctioning body said in a statement.
“Monday morning during its race weekend debrief, NASCAR discovered an issue with the damper template used for inspection.
“NASCAR then conducted a detailed investigation, and has restored the No. 12’s stage and race finishing positions from Sunday.
“NASCAR has taken internal steps to remedy this issue moving forward.”
Blaney is now back to just 17-points below the cut-off line heading to next week’s race at Homestead.
Ryan Blaney’s path to the Championship 4 just got a lot harder following the conclusion of Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford finished in the top-10 in both of the first two stages and crossed the line with a sixth-place finish when the checkered flag flew, leaving him with a manageable 17-point deficit to the cut-off line.
“We ran pretty good today, but it is what it is,” Blaney said We just have to keep running good and having good days and just keep running up front. Hopefully, you find yourself up front and can contend for a win.”
However, trouble started during post-race inspection when issues were discovered with the left-front damper on his car. It was found that the suspension part did not meet the overall specified length outlined in Section 22.214.171.124 of the NASCAR Rule Book, therefore leading to Blaney being disqualified.
As a result, he will be credited with a last-place finish and will be forced to forfeit the points accumulated throughout the race.
Now instead of being within shouting distance of the cut-off line, Blaney is now 56 points back, meaning he will likely have to win at Homestead or Martinsville to be able to race for the championship at Phoenix.
Blaney has never won at either Homestead or Martinsville, with one top-10 finish at Homestead (2020) and seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Martinsville. He finished seventh at Martinsville earlier this season and third in the penultimate race of the season last year.
“Those are two decent tracks for us, so we just have go forward and have a good day,” Blaney said of the tracks ahead in the Round of 8.