NASCAR: Multiple Teams Fail Inspections Twice Ahead of Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

by Caitlin Berard

Before NASCAR drivers complete a single lap, their car must pass a rigorous inspection process. Inspectors compare every inch of each car to the NASCAR Rule Book. If anything is amiss, no matter how small, drivers and their teams are hit with penalties.

Despite these inspections being a weekly occurrence, it’s not uncommon to see multiple drivers fail their pre-race check. This week was no exception, with no less than seven drivers failing their pre-qualifying inspections ahead of the NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 at the Richmond Raceway.

The five teams that failed the pre-qualifying inspection twice will lose a crew member and forfeit their pit selection. Those drivers are as follows:

  • Austin Dillon – No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
    • Crew chief: Ryan Chism
  • AJ Allmendinger – No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
    • Crew chief: Andy Suess
  • Chris Buescher – No. 17 RFK Racing Ford
    • Crew chief: Josh Sisco
  • Bubba Wallace – No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota
    • Crew chief: Zach Marquardt
  • Ricky Stenhouse – No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
    • Crew chief: Joe Gwilt

The Richmond Raceway is shaping up to be especially tough for Bubba Wallace, who was already coming into the race without his regular crew chief, Bootie Barker, and two crew members as a result of losing a wheel last Sunday at COTA.

In addition to the five drivers listed above, two drivers failed their pre-qualifying inspection a third time, resulting in even harsher punishments. Along with losing a team member and forfeiting their pit selection, Justin Haley (No. 31) and Greg Biffle (No. 44) will not compete in the qualifiers. They will also serve a pass-through penalty after the green flag drops on Sunday.

Top Performing NASCAR Drivers in Richmond Raceway Practice

Drivers faced an intense challenge in last week’s Circuit of the Americas race. It was not only the first road course of the season but COTA is a highly unusual track, featuring elevation changes and a staggering 20 turns.

That said, when it comes to NASCAR, the action never slows down, and this week’s race will provide yet another fresh challenge for NASCAR’s finest. The Richmond Raceway marks the first short track race of the 2022 season. Though just 0.75 miles in length, the D-shaped, asphalt race track allows drivers to reach incredible speeds, which they demonstrated in the practice rounds this morning.

Every driver on the field reached speeds above 110 MPH, but the top 3 drivers flew around the Richmond Raceway at an absolutely blistering pace. The top drivers in the Richmond Raceway practice round put up the following stats:

  1. Kyle Busch (No. 18)
    • 119.691 MPH
    • Lap time: 22.558
  2. Chris Buescher (No. 17)
    • 119.321 MPH
    • Lap time: 22.628
  3. Ryan Blaney (No. 12)
    • 119.000 MPH
    • Lap time: 22.689