Talladega Superspeedway has always been a place where teams have tried to push the rules to the limits, as teams go in search of speed.
In years past, vigilant NASCAR inspection officials have seized improperly shaped rear spoilers, detected movable trunk lids, found bogus restrictor plates and on one occasion went as far as cutting the roof off a car, making it unusable.
Friday at Talladega, inspectors uncovered a new variation of an old trick, seizing a pair of unapproved lower a-arms off the No. 46 Whitney Collision Centers Chevrolet driven by Michael McDowell. The a-arms appeared to have been hollowed out and filled with tiny ball bearings, making them far heavier than normal. NASCAR apparently found out about it when some of the ball bearings fell out of one of the a-arms.
The lower a-arms are located at one of the lowest points on the car. Adding weight there improves handling by lowering the car’s center of gravity. It also allows the team to remove weight somewhere else higher up on the car.
If NASCAR penalizes the team — and it likely will — expect the penalty to be handed out Tuesday.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.