Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sadler On Penalties: "We Don't Know What's Going To Happen"

Sadler: "Every template fit the car."
Elliott Sadler commented yesterday on the issues facing his Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet, and his comments sounded eerily similar to those uttered by Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick just a few weeks before.

Sadler’s One Main Financial Chevrolet was one of six cars from the RCR and Turner Motorsports stables found to have "modified upper bumper covers" in pre-race inspection for last night’s “Virginia 529 College Savings 250” at Richmond International Raceway. Also found in violation were the cars of RCR teammates Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick, along with Turner Motorsports drivers Justin Allgaier, James Buescher and Kasey Kahne. All six teams were required to replace the noses of their cars prior to last night’s race.

"It was the same car I've run twice already this season," insisted Sadler Friday. "It's been through pre-race inspections and it's been through post-race teardowns because we won two races with it. When we went through the tech line, we got a sticker… with no issues. Every single template fit the car. Everybody was back at the trailer, working on the car and scaling it out when NASCAR came and said we had to cut the nose off.”

Sadler finished sixth Friday night.
In February, team owner Hendrick made similar claims after Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet was ruled to have illegal c-pillars in pre-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. Like Sadler, Hendrick said NASCAR officials never measured the parts in question before ruling them illegal. The team was fined and docked championships points, but most of the penalty was overturned by National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook on appeal.

"We don't really know what's going to happen,” said Sadler, admitting concern over how a possible penalty might affect his slender championship point lead. “We did what (NASCAR) wanted us to do. All the templates fit, but I think it was an eye test.”

Sources close to the sanctioning body say the RCR teams had altered the wheel wells on both sides of the car, while the Turner cars were altered on only one side. NASCAR rules require the nose pieces be run as they come from the manufacturer, with no modifications allowed.

Sadler said he has no idea what to expect Tuesday – NASCAR’s traditional day to announce penalties from the previous race weekend – saying he and his team are “a little confused” about the nature of the alleged violation. “I guess we'll see what Tuesday brings us, but we can't do anything about it. NASCAR asked us to cut it off, so we cut it off."

He confirmed that RCR has replaced the noses on six cars – three primaries and three backups -- scheduled to compete at Talladega (AL) Superspeedway next weekend. Sadler drove his reworked Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish at RIR Friday night, and now leads defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., by just two points.


  1. Anonymous8:21 PM

    I get a feeling that this will change the tenor of those that were critical of HMS' penalty. Of course, it won't change the divide between Ford and Chevy fans.

  2. Robert G.10:40 PM

    Second team to recently say that the "same" car passes one time and not another. And it is based on someone's eye or judgement. Needs to be more consistent.

  3. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Two comments
    #1 - Not exactly sure how inspection is done and how comprehensive it is at this level, but the fact that this car has been through pre-race and post-race inspections in at least two prior events means NOTHING. Inspectors may not be looking at all aspects of the car at every event. Also, the car has been back in the control of the team between those events. NASCAR simply can not assume that the car is the same as it was for a prior race.

    #2 - If, as Sadler seems to be saying, nothing was done to the car and they were forced to replace (what he thinks is) a legal nose piece from the manufacturer with a second nose piece from the manufacturer, why was the inspection result different the second time? I think the answer is as NASCAR found, the first nose piece was altered.

    Lewiston, ME

  4. Anonymous9:41 AM

    I really hate when teams use the cop out that "it's passed X times before in the same configuration". In what world does that make it automatically OK??? To me all that says is "Hey, we've cheated X times before and got away with it!". That is like me saying I passed the police officer 5 times doing 75 in a 65 so the sixth time it must be legal.

    Grow up take your punishment and play by the rules next time.