Controversial penalty causes furor between Martin Truex Jr. and NASCAR

Sharon Wong

Martin Truex Jr. and his crew chief are angrily opposing a penalty he incurred, but NASCAR says no dice. 

This seems to be the season for contentious penalties. As Mercedes is just getting over a penalty issued to Nico Rosberg, things in NASCAR are getting equally heated as Truex contests a costly one he incurred at the Quaker State 400 on Saturday night. The issue was that he’d illegally passed Kevin Harvick on pit road and was therefore forced to restart his car, going all the way from the front of the field to 22nd position, the last place. Harsh. But NASCAR remained unmoved, even when crew chief Cole Pearn visited their hauler to negotiate the situation.

“I didn’t expect him to be happy, but you can’t pass on pit road. If you do pass on pit road, it specifically says it has to be to the right when somebody is peeling off into their box. Without getting too deep into it, I didn’t expect him to be happy, but you can’t pass cars on the pit road.”

Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition

Truex, of course, remains profoundly dissatisfied with the verdict and feels like he hasn’t been doing anything out of bounds. In fact, he has no idea why he’s being punished for something he and other drivers routinely do every week.

“I feel like I did the same thing guys do every week. You get to your timing line, you step on the gas and you head straight towards your pit. Obviously, I turned left and came up next to the 4 car (Harvick’s) and passed him as I was driving to my pit, which is what guys do every week.

“I don’t know why it was different today. I would think that if they didn’t want us to do it any more, they would tell us in the drivers’ meeting. But I mean, hell, I’ve been passed on pit road 15 times this year in that exact same way – I didn’t see guys get penalized. So I guess when you’re doing it for a win, it’s different circumstances or something.”

Martin Truex Jr.

We’re not sure which side of the equation we’re standing on yet. We’ll be a little clearer on our own position when other drivers start dropping like flies and raising hue and cry over these rules, as many are doing over in Formula 1. For now, we’ll just be glad Truex managed to climb all the way from 22nd place to 10th by the end of the race.


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