NASCAR doesn't penalize 'roof flap' drivers at Daytona

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NASCAR declined on Wed­nesday to penalize the 31 cars that failed inspection in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at Daytona.

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was one of 31 drivers who failed inspection last week at Daytona because of their roof flaps. The roofs were fixed before the race and no one was penalized.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was one of 31 drivers who failed inspection last week at Daytona because of their roof flaps. The roofs were fixed before the race and no one was penalized.

NASCAR confiscated the teams’ roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection.

The 31 cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday’s practices at Daytona International Speedway.

“Based upon our inspection and subsequent review, it was our determination that the functionality and safety aspects of the roof flaps were not compromised and the on track competition would not be impacted,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said.

NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices.

Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars.

The Cup cars involved included all three Joe Gibbs Racing entries (Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth), all three Roush Fenway Racing entries (Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), all three Michael Waltrip Racing entries (Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip) and both Roger Penske Racing entries (Joey Logano and defending series champion Brad Keselowski).

Cars driven by Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne, Casey Mears, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola also failed inspection.

Nationwide drivers busted include Bayne, Brian Vickers, Reed Sorenson and Travis Pastrana.

NO. 3 COMING BACK: The legendary No. 3 hasn’t been used in the Sprint Cup Series since Dale Earnhardt was killed at the 2001 Daytona 500, but car owner Richard Childress said he has every intention of bringing it back next year for grandson Austin Dillon.

Equally important, Childress seems to have the support of the rest of the sport, particularly Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“I think it will be great,” Earnhardt said. “It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans. This sport doesn’t really retire numbers and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons. The No. 3 is no different.”

Dillon currently runs the No. 3 in the Nationwide Series for Richard Childress Racing, while his brother, Ty Dillon, runs the No. 3 in the Camping World Truck Series.

STEWART’S DOUBLE: No, that isn’t Tony Stewart doing a split during a Mobil 1 commercial.

Stewart said the only thing that’s real during the ad was his face being superimposed over somebody else’s body.

“They had some male gymnast do it,” Stewart said. “I don’t know who it was. I didn’t want to be there when he did it.”

Stewart said when he got to the commercial shoot he read the transcript that called for him to ride an exercise bicycle and to finish in a split. His first question to producers was: “Which Tony is going to do this by the way?”

Stewart also said he’s never dunked cookies in a soft drink before the commercial. Now he’s a fan.

“It’s actually pretty good,” he said. “It might start a new trend now.”

MAKING HISTORY: Morgan Shepherd might be 72, but he’s not ready to slow down just yet.

Despite devoting most of his time to the Nationwide Series, Shepherd will return to the senior circuit for the first time since 2006 for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 300.

And by doing so, he would become the oldest driver in Sprint Cup history.

“This is truly a milestone, great opportunity and I thank all who are involved to help make this happen,” Shepherd said. “Will be good to be back for such a historical day. Plus I love racing at New Hampshire.”

Shepherd will be driving the No. 52 Toyota for Brian Keselowski. With 43 entries, Shepherd is guaranteed a spot in the lineup.

Road racer Jim Fitzgerald, 65, set the record in 1987 at Riverside International Speedway.


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