The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was scheduled to start at 1:16 pm EST, though would start at 2:13 pm EST due to rain.
If the race had started on time, though, there would have been drivers that would’ve missed the start of the race. AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, JJ Yeley, Josh Wise and Kevin Harvick were still going through inspection. By the time the race started, though, all of the drivers were through inspection.
It marks a continuation of inspection issues as 13 drivers – highlighted by Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Regan Smith, Tony Stewart – would miss qualifying as a result of not getting through pre-qualifying technical inspection in time.
“There is something wrong,” Gordon said. “Or there is something wrong with the system. Or there is something wrong with the amount of time they allot to get through. There is no way this many good cars, talented people that they can’t figure out how to get these cars through inspection. These guys are too smart. Yes we are pushing limits, but there is something wrong here. I’m embarrassed; I’m embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened. I’m really upset for my sponsor 3M that just came on for this weekend where we didn’t even get a chance to qualify.”
The situation caused Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Reed Sorenson and Michael Annett to miss the race.
” I feel bad for whoever didn’t get through there and didn’t make the race,” Kenseth added. “I’m glad they’re still on last year’s points instead of this year’s points or probably we wouldn’t have made the race either, so I’m not really sure what the issue was, but when I walked up 10 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to start and it was only 14 cars on pit road, so I have a hard time believing it was the teams.”
Sprint Cup Series Competition Director Richard Buck addressed the media following qualifying, saying that they made sure to allow each team to cross the inspection at least once and were able to do that.
“I think we saw different areas where the teams were pushing the limits to get through it,” he commented. “We’ve got a new rules package here, and obviously the history of Atlanta and the grip is so important here, I think we’ve seen that with the test yesterday, teams getting to the limits, and we were open yesterday for all day on the laser inspection station and templates and such, and we had quite a few cars that came through. We did see the area of the laser inspection station where teams were pushing it, and that’s their job. They’re trying to get every bit that they can.”