Following Daytona 500 qualifying, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would both fail post-qualifying technical inspection on Sunday afternoon.
Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing exceeded the maximum split for the rear track bar. The split is limited to three inches, and Hamlin’s was found to be at 3.75 inches. Rather than starting second in the second Budweiser Duel, he will be forced to start 24th.
Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports was too low in the left-front by 1/8 inch. While the minimum-height rule was eliminated by NASCAR last year, it is still implemented on the restrictor plate tracks – Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
“Obviously NASCAR does a great job inspecting the cars and they found that our ride heights after qualifying were too low,” Greg Ives, crew chief for Earnhardt, said. “They did their due diligence of allowing us to go through their processes of how they deal with it. In the end we still ended up low. It’s unfortunate for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team. We were definitely not trying to do anything intentional here. I don’t feel it was an advantage that got us to our 10th place position, but it is definitely something that can be frowned upon and not looked as being compliant to the rules and that is what we need to stick to.”
Rather than starting fifth in the first Budweiser Duel, Earnhardt will be forced to start 25th.