The No. 44 Niece Motorsports race-winning truck of Ross Chastain failed post-race inspection at Iowa Speedway and was officially disqualified from Sunday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.
NASCAR officials discovered the No. 44 truck was too low in the front during post-race technical inspection, according to a NASCAR spokesperson. Chastain will not receive credit for the victory and will be scored as earning last-place points for the race. He will lose the points earned from the victory and the seven playoff bonus points as a result.
The second-place finishers in both stages received 10 race points associated with respective stage wins as well as the playoff point for a stage win. Matt Crafton has been awarded the stage win for Stage 1, while Ben Rhodes collected the same for Stage 2.
The team can appeal the penalty in an expedited process up until noon ET on Monday, according to NASCAR. Niece Motorsports confirmed in an official team statement they will appeal the disqualification.
Brett Moffitt was officially declared the winner of Sunday’s M&M’s 200 at Iowa, earning his first victory of the 2019 season with GMS Racing in his first season with the organization. Moffitt will also collect the $50,000 bonus for the Triple Truck Challenge program. He won this race last season as well.
The post-race process is part of a new, more timely approach to inspection for all three NASCAR national series. Competition officials announced in February that thorough post-race inspections would take place shortly after the checkered flag at the track instead of midweek at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina.
Those inspections come with a stiffer deterrence structure that includes disqualification for significant rules infractions — “a total culture change,” according to Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. In the past, race-winning teams found in violation of the rules were penalized with post-race fines, points deductions and/or suspensions, but victories were allowed to stand.
Competition officials introduced the quicker post-race inspection timetable in an effort to make the results official on race day, aiming for a 90-minute target timeframe to complete their process. The new post-race inspection process was also designed to deal with potential violations more promptly, avoiding any midweek news that might cloud the previous week’s results or the build-up to the following week’s event.
NASCAR will still inspect cars and parts at the R&D Center as needed, but the more comprehensive at-track inspection will take priority.
According to NASCAR statistical archives, the last time a premier series driver was disqualified occurred in 1973, when early retiree Buddy Baker was demoted to last place in the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The last time an apparent race winner in NASCAR’s top division was disqualified came on April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson (N.C.) Speedway was thrown out because of an oversized fuel tank on his No. 85 Chevrolet.