NASCAR Nationswide Series driver Chase Elliot had himself quite the race this weekend in Las Vegas. The youngster who many in the sport are talking about was able to find some luck on his way to a fifth place finish in the Sams Town 300. Elliot’s afternoon was capped off when Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted to praise him. The fun all came to an end though when it was announced that Elliot’s car failed the post-race inspection.
The issue at hand with Elliot’s No. 9 NAPA machine was the height of the splitter. Although it wasn’t clear right away what the infraction was, it was later clarified through the JR Motorsports Twitter page that the splitter was too close to the ground.
According to the NASCAR rule book, such a violation is listed as a “P2” on NASCAR’s new scale of penalties. That means a 10-point penalty and a likely fine of $5,000 to $12,500 to the crew chief. The rulebook does allow for a crew-chief suspension for a P2 penalty, but this type of infraction has never resulted in a suspension in the past.
For many fans some the the fines that NASCAR levies might come across as insignificant. The majority of failed inspections involve one thing or another being off by inches or even less. In the case of Elliot, the splitter being too low to the ground is a big issue. Whether it’s centimeters or it’s inches, it’s fair to say that a lower splitter helps the driver. When the splitter is lower to the ground it helps create more down-force which helps the car stick to the track and more importantly, go faster.
In the grand scheme of things this will be merely a hiccup in what should be a promising career for Elliot. However this weekend, it without question put a damper on what was a series of exciting moments.