NASCAR on Wednesday afternoon handed out warnings to Sprint Cup Series teams for irregularities related to technical inspection last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
The following written warnings were issued to the teams of the following drivers:
• Kyle Busch, for the No. 18 team failing NASCAR's LASER Inspection Platform twice in pre-race. Busch is one of the four championship contenders entering this weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
• Greg Biffle, for the No. 16 team flunking the LASER Inspection Platform twice in pre-race.
• Matt Kenseth, for the No. 20 team flunking the LASER Inspection Platform three times in pre-race. Kenseth, who missed the last two races while serving a suspension, will be forced to sit out 15 minutes of practice at Homestead.
• Danica Patrick, for the No. 10 team failing to pass the LASER Inspection Platform three times in pre-race. As a result, Patrick will lose 15 minutes of practice time at Homestead.
• Paul Menard, for the No. 27 team failing NASCAR's LASER Inspection Platform twice in pre-race.
• Michael Annett, for the No. 46 team failing to pass the LASER Inspection Platform three times in pre-race. Annett will be forced to sit out 15 minutes of practice.
The teams of the following drivers have three warnings heading into the season finale: Championship contenders Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, along with Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman and Jeb Burton.
In streamlining its warning system back in August, NASCAR ruled that every fourth warning a team receives would result in automatic loss of pit selection at the next event.
That means that a fourth warning, for issues in pre-qualifying inspection at Homestead, would be particularly consequential for Harvick and Busch, who would lose their pit selection for Sunday's championship race.
"We've been at three (warnings) for a long time now, and we haven't had any issues at all," Rodney Childers, the crew chief for Harvick's No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team, said on Wednesday. "You've just got to be a little bit careful, you know, going through for qualifying and that type of thing. But honestly, the past month it hasn't even been an issue at all. I think it seems like everything has been a lot more consistent with the LIS, and NASCAR is doing a really good job with that thing, and changed a few lasers out on it and stuff, and it's done really good. At Phoenix it was really consistent.
"You know, you've just got to do the best job you can and play it a little bit conservative on some things and get through qualifying and get your pit selection done."
Adam Stevens, the crew chief for Busch, doesn't expect the possibility of a fourth warning to hamper the team's qualifying preparations at Homestead.
"I don't think it puts us behind, but certainly we'll make a couple extra trips across the platform before practice starts to make sure that we know exactly where our stuff is, and if there's anything that's marginal or a number we're chasing, we'll make sure that we're on the short side of it rather than taking a chance of having to go around," he said.