Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone looks forward to pleading the team's case to NASCAR after the sanctioning body lowered the boom on the No. 78 bunch Wednesday for a roof-flap violation in pre-race inspection last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Crew chief Cole Pearn was handed a one-race suspension and fined $50,000 while Truex and the team were stripped of 15 driver and owner points, respectively, as part of the P3 penalty.
As Furniture Row awaits word on when it will conduct its formal appeals hearing with NASCAR, Pearn is allowed to work this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, Garone spent some time dissecting the nature of the violation during an appearance Wednesday evening on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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"In the thrash through the winter of getting cars ready and cars built, we managed to let a part on the car, on the roof flap, get in the car that is unapproved, and it's a spring up inside the roof flap," Garone told host Dave Moody."It's not necessarily easy to catch, and NASCAR found it. I'm actually grateful that they found it before we got on the track because it is a safety issue, no doubt, and we certainly aren't questioning that. I have to give credit to NASCAR for catching it. That's a good thing, not a bad thing."
Garone then explained what he sees as the basis for the team's appeal.
"The nice thing about NASCAR's appeals system is it gives you the opportunity to sit across from NASCAR and discuss the circumstances, and that's what we'd like to do is understand clearly why it's such a severe penalty," he said. "There was never anything intended on competition, there's nothing to gain from it on competition, for sure, and it was found before we got on the track. NASCAR did their job. So it does leave you saying, 'Look, I want to understand why it's such a severe penalty,' and that's all."
Prior to last weekend's infraction, Pearn was already on probation through the end of the year after NASCAR inspectors did not like the way the roof flaps lined up on Truex's car prior to Daytona 500 qualifying.
Garone called the situation with Truex's roof flaps at Atlanta "completely different" from what happened at Daytona.
"Two different worlds," he said. "This was purely an oversight. The issue in Daytona was completely different. It had to do with the adjuster that holds the roof flap in place, the height of it, and this is absolutely nothing like that at all."
Does Garone believe Pearn's existing probation played a role in the severity of the Atlanta penalty?
"I think it does, and that's why we want to appeal it and talk about it, because he was on probation for that, and we accepted that and understood it, so yeah, I'd like to understand clearly why this particular scenario is so heavy, and I'm sure that'll play into it, but nevertheless, you'd like to understand the level for the penalty, because it was two complete different things," Garone said. "Again, nothing to do with competition. Purely safety, which is hugely important. Like I said, we're glad they found it. That's what they're supposed to do. That's all good.
"Again, it's a great system. I definitely don't want to be taken wrong like NASCAR's system's wrong, because it isn't. It's good to have a system where you can come in and sit down and talk about the situation and then come out feeling like you understand each other."