By Jared Turner
NASCAR should be applauded for tweaking the pre-qualifying inspection procedures following the debacle at Atlanta Motor Speedway where 13 drivers – including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart — were unable to even get on track to complete a qualifying run.
After being widely criticized for not giving drivers enough time to get through inspection, NASCAR announced prior to the Las Vegas weekend that an 15 extra minutes would be allowed for teams to prepare their cars for inspection and for officials to complete the inspection process before qualifying in Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana.
The change — at least for the three races it affects – should eliminate a repeat of what happened in Atlanta. It remains to be seen, however, if NASCAR will make tweaks to give teams more time to get through pre-qualifying inspection at races beyond Fontana. Such a move certainly seems like the only sensible course of action.
Ives cost Dale Jr. two spots
The decision by first-year crew chief Greg Ives at Las Vegas to change only two tires on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 car under the final round of green-flag pit stops turned out to be the wrong call.
Instead of finishing second – where he’d been running just before the cycle of pit stops began – Earnhardt finished fourth after being unable to hold off drivers with fresher rubber.