NASCAR Cup Series: Ryan Blaney’s Disqualification and Rescinding Explained

Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 01, 2023 in Talladega, Alabama.

Ryan Blaney left Las Vegas learning his car was deemed illegal and disqualified. Now, NASCAR has rescinded the disqualification. Here’s an explanation of why he was disqualified and why NASCAR has back-tracked its decision.

Ryan Blaney is looking to make it back-to-back Team Penske championships in 2023. He won the Coke 600 in May, ending a fifty-nine-race winless streak. Then he solidified his spot in the round of eight with another win at Talladega. At Las Vegas, the #12 Ford qualified in the twelfth position. He scored a total of eight stage points, and with his finish of sixth, earned thirty-nine points. But then, post-race tech inspection happened.

NASCAR’s Post-Race Tech:

Following the conclusion of any NASCAR race, the technical inspectors go to work to determine whether the winning car is following the rules. All cars must go through a pre-race inspection, but only a certain number of cars go through post-race. At Las Vegas, Kyle Larson’s car and all of the playoff cars went through post-race tech.

Post-race tech is less stringent than pre-race, as cars change throughout the race. It consists of height and weight measurements and a small teardown to inspect things like the engine or the shock absorbers. If anything is found on a car in post-race tech that is not allowed in the rules, it is an automatic disqualification. In 2022, Denny Hamlin was disqualified when tape was found on the front bumper of his Camry. Kyle Busch was also disqualified for having the same tape, giving Chase Elliott the win.

Blaney’s car had its shocks checked in pre-race tech, and they passed. The shocks are sealed and raced than tech’d again following the race. The issue was that the shock was a bit too short for the template NASCAR uses for inspecting them. That small, fraction of an inch was grounds for immediate disqualification.

Rescinding the Penalty:

Brad Moran, NASCAR’s Managing Director for the Cup Series, spoke to Fox Sports about what happened following tech inspection in Vegas. Moran was going through the weekends inspection notes when he discovered there was also issues with shocks on the back-up cars of Suarez and Elliott did not pass. NASCAR had taken the shock template and the four shocks from Blaney’s car back to the Research and Development Center for further inspection.

Moran then talked to the officials who were in charge of the shock inspection. They reinspected the shock and NASCAR then came to the conclusion that the template was inconsistent throughout the weekend, and that the #12 Team was not at fault for the failure.

Team Penske released a statement following the announcement, saying they were pleased with the decision and commended NASCAR’s integrity throughout this season.

With his points returned, Blaney is still in the hunt for the championship. He now is back to seventeen points below the cutoff line. Sixth in the standings, he is one point behind Tyler Reddick and fifteen behind Christopher Bell.

Moran said this would be the last time this would be an issue. He said the methods used to inspect the shocks are being redone for the next race.

Blaney and the Cup Series are heading to Miami, for the 4Ever 400. Racing begins at 2:30 PM Eastern on NBC.