NASCAR recently cracked down on fender modifications. They’ve also added cameras along pit lane to monitor teams a little closer when a suspicious fender mod shows up on track. You can guess how well this went for Jimmie Johnson’s team when a crew member hip-checked a big dent in the side of the car.
NBC Sports commentator Steve Letarte recognized what kind of advantage this gave the number 48 car immediately. The extra indentation ahead of the wheels would give Johnson’s car more downforce compared to the cars without the dent.
It’s one thing to feign a struggle with the wheel or something, but this fellow put his hips into slamming up against the car as two other men were also working on the right rear tire.
C’mon, dude. At the very least, that’s a bit rough on your hip.
As it wasn’t an approved modification to the bodywork, NASCAR pulled them in almost immediately while the race was still under yellow to fix the fender and side skirts. Additionally, Johnson had to serve a drive-through penalty when the race went back to green, per the rules on “unapproved mechanical adjustments” (read: butt slams).
Johnson not only lost his position, but he just fell one lap behind the leaders.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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