NASCAR Busts Driver Allegedly Cheating with Strange Piece of Clothing During Random Inspection

NASCAR Busts Driver Allegedly Cheating with Strange Piece of Clothing During Random Inspection

"NASCAR showcased a conspicuously altered glove worn by Joey Logano during qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where modifications for aerodynamic deflection were so blatant that it appeared he was donning part of an amphibious costume.

The black glove on Logano's left hand featured webbing made of an unspecified material between every finger. The speculation is that Logano, who qualified second at Atlanta last weekend, had the glove modified to extend his hand out of the window as an aerodynamic blocker during qualifying.

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, NASCAR refrained from speculating on the motivations of the two-time Cup champion or Team Penske, which chose not to appeal a penalty imposed on Logano.

NASCAR stated that it discovered the glove during a random inspection — contrary to Denny Hamlin's suggestion that it was a tipoff from a rival team — and that it was uncertain whether Logano wore the glove when he secured the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.

Rival driver Corey Lajoie didn't hesitate when asked on Saturday whether Logano wore the glove in Daytona 500 qualifying — "yes," he said — and insisted that Team Penske would have conducted computer simulations on the glove before using it on the track. LaJoie estimated that the webbed glove added three counts of drag for Logano.

Brad Moran, NASCAR Cup Series managing director, revealed that the No. 22 Ford was among five cars randomly selected for post-qualifying inspection, and the in-car camera promptly alerted officials that something was amiss.

"We spotted something that was honestly concerning," Moran said before Saturday's activities in Las Vegas. "As you can see, the entire glove is webbed. The reason for that is you can obviously block more air; the drivers do put their hand up against the (window) opening, which we've never really had a rule against.

"This obviously goes one step further, and that glove becomes not only a competition problem but it goes one step further because it becomes a safety violation."

All equipment must be approved by The SFI Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that has overseen standards for the quality assurance of specialty performance and racing equipment since 1978. NASCAR was uncertain whether the material used for the webbing effect was even fire retardant.

Logano was penalized last Sunday morning, forfeiting the second-place starting position and being sent to the back of the field at Atlanta. He also had to serve a drive-through penalty on pit road once he took the green flag as the competition penalty.

This week, Logano was fined $10,000 for violating NASCAR's safety code under "Driver Responsibilities & Driver Protective Clothing/Equipment."

Team owner Roger Penske expressed his displeasure with Logano's infraction, emphasizing the negative impact on the team's reputation. "It's not good. Period. I told him," Penske said. "He's the leader of the team. Look, we are under so much scrutiny, and the last thing we need to do is have any noise like that. It's not good for us. It's not good for him. We'll take our punches."

Reigning Cup champion Ryan Blaney, who gave Penske back-to-back NASCAR championships in November, stated that there was no internal discussion among the three Penske cars to try the glove. Blaney further revealed that he was unaware Logano was using an altered glove.

But Blaney acknowledged that all teams consistently navigate within a gray area — without pushing boundaries to the extent that it irks their boss, Penske, regarding the efforts and optics of the organization. "That was something they found, and they just wanted to try, but that wasn't something they tried to talk about," Blaney said. "It's always tricky; you want to be fast. But I feel like we've always been very good. We've always been very respectful — like we never get in trouble — because that's Roger's way, right?

"So it's a real balance because you are always trying to find speed, but sometimes you have to kind of get a little in that gray area to find it."

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