Motorsport News

Are Post-Race Disqualifications A Punishment That Fits The Crime?


For years, race fans clamored for NASCAR to take the win away from a driver or team whose car was found illegal in post-race inspection after a victory.

For years, NASCAR resisted because they felt it was a crime that the driver and team who celebrate in victory lane have their win taken away for a minor infraction.

That happened this week. For the first time since 1960, NASCAR actually took the victory away from a Cup Series competitor after Denny Hamlin‘s No. 11 car was found in violation of the rules in post-race inspection at Pocono Raceway.

Naturally there would be a reaction from the masses. Many agreed with NASCAR’s decision while others were on the fence about it. We tossed this question up to our writers. Michael Nebbia and Stephen Strumpf battle it out in this week’s 2-Headed Monster.

Let Finishes Stand, But Make Penalties Harsher

NASCAR’s uniform procedure of disqualifying drivers that failed post-race inspection was first implemented in 2019.

Wins were stripped in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series in the inaugural year of the rules. Cup drivers were also disqualified in 2019, but the winner was never caught red-handed. For more than three years, the driver that crossed the line first was the winner in the record books.

Until now.

And in lower series races where the original winner was stripped of the win, there was no issue with rewarding the trophy and race win to the highest legal car.

Until now.

Chase Elliott may be the winner in the record books, but he has declined the trophy. Hamlin posted on Twitter, jokingly saying he would be selling the trophy on eBay. For now, it appears that NASCAR is not requesting to have it back.

If the winner doesn’t want the trophy, if NASCAR isn’t asking for the trophy and the disqualified winner gets to keep the trophy, then what is the point of disqualifying drivers in the first place?

It’s an awkward situation that only gets weirder when thousands of people left Pocono Raceway seeing Hamlin cross the finish line first and celebrate, only to learn that he hadn’t won the race at all. It’s also not ideal for fans of Elliott. He was the true winner of the race, but his fans did not see him celebrate, hoist the trophy or do burnouts on the frontstretch.

And if NASCAR’s points leader and most popular driver does not want the trophy after being declared the winner, it’s time to change the way that inspection failures are penalized.

The old…

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