Ryan Blaney hasn’t been disqualified from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas after all.
Blaney finished sixth on Sunday but was demoted to last place after his car failed post-race inspection because a front shock didn’t meet the required height. However, NASCAR said on Monday that its own template was the reason for Blaney’s inspection failure and that his car was actually legal.
“Monday morning during its race weekend debrief, NASCAR discovered an issue with the damper template used for inspection,” a NASCAR statement said. “NASCAR then conducted a detailed investigation and has restored [Blaney’s] stage and race finishing positions from Sunday.”
“NASCAR has taken internal steps to remedy this issue moving forward.”
It’s a massive development for Blaney. He had scored 39 points over the course of Sunday’s race but was relegated to getting one point because of the disqualification. The DQ meant Blaney faced must-win races at Homestead and Martinsville to advance to the title race at Phoenix.
Instead, Blaney is still in the thick of race to advance to the title race via points. All eight playoff drivers finished in the top 11 on Sunday and Blaney was third among them. After starting the third round in eighth, Blaney is now seventh in the standings and is 17 points back of fourth place.
Team Penske would have also been able to appeal the disqualification had it not been rescinded and likely would have won if it had solid proof that NASCAR made a mistake.
“We are pleased with the decision by NASCAR to rescind the post-race disqualification to the No. 12 car following Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR has shown a tremendous amount of integrity throughout the process which has led to this conclusion.”
The situation is also a bad look for NASCAR as it inspects all the playoff drivers’ cars. It’s unfortunate that a NASCAR error could have ruined Blaney’s title chances, but the sanctioning body recognized its mistake in this instance and is working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
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