Despite admitting wrongdoing to Jimmie Johnson by penalizing him for failing tech inspection three times when he only failed twice, the fact remains that the call to overhaul NASCAR inspection penalties is getting louder. Although the issue was more of a communication error, there’s no glossing over the fact that the system of failing three times before being penalized is pointless and without solid reasoning.
“I still don’t understand why we have to worry about failing three times,” said Tony Stewart, winning car owner of the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick. “It’s like, you bring your car and bring it through tech, and you either pass or you don’t.”
“I don’t know why we screw around, jack around one, two, three times, and it’s ridiculous to me. It’s the only series in the world where you get to go through tech three times and you fail twice and they still let you go a third time. We got to figure it out and make it simpler and it shouldn’t be this difficult.
“Half the time you don’t even know what the penalty is supposed to be, and I don’t…I’m a car owner and I don’t know what the penalty is supposed to be. I don’t know how the fans can keep up with it either. If you start rolling cars through and they don’t pass and you send them to the back after one time I guarantee you a lot less cars fail tech the next week.”
Stewart’s words illustrate a common idea regarding the tech inspection process. Granted, the idea of giving cars three chances through tech inspection is meant to be lenient and easier on the drivers. However, a communication error would be easier and more avoidable if the process was limited to just one chance at tech inspection.
Allowing three passes at tech inspection allows a chance for communication to be needlessly tangled such as what happened with Johnson prior to the AAA Texas 500. It is true that the penalty didn’t harm Johnson too terribly; he had a disastrous qualifying effort by the 48 team’s standards (having won seven races at Texas), and the penalty barely moved him further down in the field. But the next time such an error happens it could happen to a Playoff driver in a cutoff event and it’s obvious NASCAR doesn’t want to have another 2013 Chase field fiasco.
Johnson finished 15th at the final running order despite having led briefly due to pit strategy.
“There was a breakdown of communication on how teams can communicate to the tower to dispute something, and it was really exposed today,” said Johnson.
It’s apparent that without the option to go through tech three times, such a “communication breakdown” wouldn’t have even happened.