At Richmond Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch was issued a late-race penalty for a grille tape on his car.
It is not permitted to use a grille tape in the Next Gen era. NASCAR found out about the tape on lap 234 and after 111 laps more, NASCAR issued the penalty. While one of the questions in people’s minds is why it took so long for NASCAR to issue the penalty. However, an equally important question is if JGR knew about the tape and if they did, why didn’t they do anything about it.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave his theory about what might have gone behind the scene in the JGR garage. He spoke about it in the segment of Ask Jr. of his podcast.
“Well, I think that, even if they did, even if it was a mistake, and they realize, say, that they make the mistake, they probably know it immediately, they probably see it happening,” Dale Jr. said. “The crew chief is standing there, watching the stop. And he’s gonna go, ‘That’s at the wrong spot.’
“But if the car pulls off pit road, he’s gonna wait, see if NASCAR noticed anything. ‘All right, NASCAR’s not seeing nothing so let’s just let this go, okay? And everybody kind of, don’t touch it, don’t talk about it, don’t even mention it on the radio, on the digital and as long as NASCAR doesn’t have a problem, we’re gonna leave them out there.”
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Furthermore, Dale Jr.explained how the grille tape gives an advantage to the drivers.
“Anytime you add tape on the grill, boy, your car is way better,” he said.
“It adds overall downforce, not just grip on the front or aero advantage to the nose. That air that is now hitting the piece is not only pushing down on that piece right and creating additional downforce for the front of the car, but it’s also sending more air over the car, over the rest of the car, onto the rear spoiler.
“The whole car improves.”
If so is the case, then it certainly should be punished. The team tried to explain this incident by telling that the grille tape was a mistake and that it was meant for a brake duct.