The race-winning Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota of driver Kyle Busch has passed inspection at ISM Raceway, with only a lug-nut violation found in a post-race check.
The No. 18 entry was found with a single lug-nut not safe and secure after Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500. Under the guidelines in the 2019 NASCAR Rule Book, the minor infraction should result in a fine for crew chief Adam Stevens. The car was otherwise compliant with NASCAR’s rules, and the victory will stand.
With the post-race teardown complete, the race results are official.
The post-race process is part of a new, more timely approach to inspection for all three NASCAR national series. Competition officials announced in February that thorough post-race inspections would take place shortly after the checkered flag at the track instead of midweek at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina.
Those inspections come with a stiffer deterrence structure that includes disqualification for significant rules infractions — “a total culture change,” according to Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. In the past, race-winning teams found in violation of the rules were penalized with post-race fines, points deductions and/or suspensions, but victories were allowed to stand.
Competition officials introduced the quicker post-race inspection timetable in an effort to make the results official on race day, aiming for a 90-minute target time frame to complete their scrutiny. The new post-race inspection process was also designed to deal with potential violations more promptly, avoiding any midweek news that might cloud the previous week’s results or the build-up to the following week’s event.
NASCAR will still inspect cars and parts at the R&D Center as needed, but the more comprehensive at-track inspection will take priority.
According to NASCAR statistical archives, the last time a premier series driver was disqualified occurred in 1973, when early retiree Buddy Baker was demoted to last place in the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The last time an apparent race winner in NASCAR’s top division was disqualified came on April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson (N.C.) Speedway was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank on his No. 85 Chevrolet.