Numerous NASCAR teams had issues when going through pre-qualifying inspection at Auto Club Speedway on March 16. As a result one third of the field – 13 – cars did not make it through inspection in time to qualify for the Auto Club 400 on Sunday March 18.
For the 24 teams that did make it through inspection and made a qualifying run, it turned out to pose an issue for NASCAR officials.
The rules state that a driver must start the race on the same tires he used for qualifying; however, for the teams that did not qualify, this puts them at the advantage of having fresher tires for the beginning of the race.
NASCAR has announced that the teams who qualified cars on Friday, may purchase a new set of tires so that they may also start the race on fresh tires and even the playing field.
For those teams that do exercise the tire option, they will have to trade in their old tires used in qualifying for the new set. All racing teams will have 10 sets of tires in their pit stalls for the race.
In the wake of the large number of teams who did not make a qualifying run in the Monster Energy Cup Series, NASCAR has informed the crew chiefs for the Xfinity Series that any racing team that does not make a qualifying run will not only be starting the race at the ack of the field, they will also have to serve a pass through penalty once the green flag drops.
A pass through penalty is where a driver must come down pit road at pit road speed but does not have to stop in their pit stall.
The track at Auto Club Speedway is two miles around so a driver will not lose a lap but will be far behind the field.