Truex Jr. Wins, Fails Post-Race Inspection at Chicagoland

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. had a roller coaster day on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. From being one of the dominant cars, to being forced to pit towards the midpoint of the race with a flat tire, to being a lap down and then coming all the way back to end up in victory lane. They’re winners, and they punched their ticket to the next round of The Chase.                                    

However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream post-race for the Mayetta, NJ native.

NASCAR later announced that the No. 78 car failed post-race LIS (laser inspection station), an inspection station that measures the specifications of the race car after the race concludes. The No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson, who was given a speeding penalty on pit road during the final round of green flag pit stops and finished 12th after leading 188 laps, also failed LIS.

Earlier last week, NASCAR announced new consequences for cars that fail post-race LIS. They stated that if a car’s measurements were outside their specifications, they would be penalized as such. Previous LIS violations have produced either 10 or 15-point deductions during the regular season. However, Truex. Jr.’s No. 78 should be okay moving forward. Why?

NASCAR updated its rules for what they call “encumbered” penalties for victors during The Chase. Because Truex Jr.’s measurements were reportedly only 0.001 off, the win will stand, as it was the lowest grade of the LIS platform.

However, Truex Jr. and Johnson are expected to be hit with points penalties later this week. The No. 78 will be unaffected, as he has a win. But the No. 48 may be in some trouble.

But anyways, how did the No. 78 win the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400?

On the final restart, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards opted to not pit and stay on the track. Truex Jr. came off pit road first with four fresh tires and restarted fourth. He used the high lane to eventually pass Blaney’s No. 21 Ford and grab his third win of the season in the overtime finish, as the race went over its advertised 267 lap scheduled distance.

“We have more races to win. The more we can win, the better,” Truex Jr. told NBCSN in victory lane. “What can I say? This is how we want to start off. This is awesome.”

Chase Elliott led 75 laps on Sunday afternoon from Chicagoland Speedway, but ultimately finished in third place. However, he wasn’t super hard on himself for a change.

“You’ve got to expect it and be able to embrace it and move forward. I feel like we did a good job controlling the things that we could control today,” Elliott told NBCSN. “We had a fast NAPA Chevy. Hendrick [Motorsports] was strong. That’s good to see. Like I said, there are some things you just can’t control with the amount of guys that stay out [under caution] and where you line up on a restart. We played the cards we were dealt and came up short.”

Joey Logano (second), Blaney (fourth), Brad Keselowski (fifth), Denny Hamlin (sixth), Kahne (seventh), Kyle Busch (eighth), Matt Kenseth (ninth) and Alex Bowman rounded out the top ten.

Jamie McMurray, Johnson, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Edwards and Tony Stewart ended up crossing the finish line in positions 11-16 when the checkered flag flew. The No. 42 of Kyle Larson finished in 18th place one lap down after a flat tire late forced him to pit road.

Kevin Harvick finished in 20th place, but it was nowhere near indicative of the No. 4’s speed. After starting in the back due to an unapproved adjustment, Harvick rocketed his way from 36th to 10th in 25 laps. But on the first round of pit stops, the caution came out at the worst time possible for the No. 4, according to the timing/scoring lines.

Long story short, Harvick was about six inches behind the start/finish line when the yellow flag flew, meaning that instead of coming out of the pits in second place behind the No. 48 Chevrolet, he would be scored as the first car on lap down. How close was the 2014 Sprint Cup champion to being on the other side of the coin? Take a look for yourself here.

Harvick wasn’t able to get his lap back for the remaining 200+ laps due to a lack of cautions. He currently sits 14th in the Chase standings, currently in danger of elimination.

Dillon and Harvick are only one point behind 12th place (the cutoff for round one), Larson is two (sits 15th in the Chase standings) and Chris Buescher (finished 28th) is 16th, 12 points behind the cut off in his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford.

Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New England 300. Matt Kenseth is the defending winner of the race, which was dominated by Kevin Harvick, who ran out of fuel with a couple laps remaining.