The first official race of the season is not in the books yet, and there’s already technical inspection issues as three drivers failed technical inspection following the Can-Am Duels.
Martin Truex Jr., along with JTG Daughtry teammates A.J. Allmendinger and Chris Buescher each were found too low in the inspection. As a result, all three will start from the back of the field for the Daytona 500, and any points earned in the Can-Am Duels are taken away.
Truex finished the first Duel in seventh (13th starting spot for Daytona 500), which would’ve given him four points, while Buescher finished 16th (32nd starting spot for Daytona 500) which equates to no points. Allmendinger was in the second Duel, posting a fourth place finish (eighth starting spot for Daytona 500) which would’ve equaled seven points.
For Truex, it marks a continuation of inspection issues his Furniture Row Racing team has faced throughout Daytona Speedweeks so far. He only made three laps in The Clash practice as a result of being stuck in pre-inspection, while both he and teammate Erik Jones only made a couple runs in pre-Daytona 500 qualifying practice due to not passing inspection.
The issues this past weekend resulted in Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn, as well as other crew members, returning to the team’s home base to adjust the grid they have in the shop, so future cars do not face the same problem.
“It’s been a big issue,” Truex said on Wednesday. “It’s just definitely a setback that you don’t want this early in the season, especially for us. We were building all new cars because we changed the body style this year.”
Furniture Row Racing GM Joe Garrone stated on Sunday that the team was not trying to panic as they “have plenty of time. We know now what we have to do back at the shop, we’ll move forward.”
Truex is no stranger to starting at the back of the Great American Race, though. He began last year’s Daytona 500 at the back following a wreck in his Duel. The starting position didn’t hold him back, though, as he challenged for the race lead throughout the race, losing by a nose at the line to Denny Hamlin.
Meanwhile, this marks the first inspection issue for JTG of the season since making a move from a single-car team to two cars for 2017. The Daytona 500 hasn’t treated Allmendinger and Buescher well in the past, though, with Buescher crashing out last year in his first attempt while Allmendinger only has two top-10s in 15 starts.
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