| | Stewart goes to backup car
FORT WORTH, Texas -- In an unprecedented move Friday, NASCAR officials disallowed defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart's primary car from competing in Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Tony Stewart Credit: Autostock
The car, which had not yet been used by the team, was confiscated by NASCAR and its backup, another unused chassis according to Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar, was pulled out of the transporter in its place.
"I'm not sure we ever have done this," NASCAR president Mike Helton said.
NASCAR impounded the car and planned to return it to its technical and research and development facility in Concord, N.C., to investigate it further.
"The uniqueness of this action comes from a great deal of action by NASCAR, the race teams and moving to the common body locations and the new templates, to eliminate the exoticness of the cars," Helton said. "This is the first case of a car being outside the box that was built for them.
"The effort by John (Darby, Winston Cup director), the teams and the body shops has been a success -- on the race track, in the garage area and from the car owners concerning the economics of the sport, so we have a high level of interest in keeping it in that direction."
• Stewart off to good start, on and off the track
• Stewart looks to Atlanta when talking about Texas
Makar said the original No. 20 Monte Carlo failed the "X measurement" test, which is one method of determining a car's body placement in relation to the centerline of the chassis.
"It's a measurement from the corners of the decklid up to the corners of the roof, across the back glass," Makar said. "In the X they look for offsets to the car and the measurement was bigger than what they told us they were going to allow."
Makar said the discrepancy, which he cited a half-inch, could not easily be corrected at the race track, so the back-up car was taken off the hauler.
"Why it was bigger, we're not really sure yet," Makar said. "We build every car the same, but that car, for whatever reason, showed a little bit bigger.
"It's not so much a case of body mounting points as it looks at offsets at different points of the car, from the roof to the decklid. What it's designed for is to keep you from offsetting the decklid way over to the right."
Helton said a determination of any advantage the car might have had would be determined at the R&D center.
"We have taken it to keep it in that condition and to investigate further rather than have them (team) cut it up," Helton said. "The resources of the R&D center give us the ability to understand things. We'll take it back to the R&D center and determine more about this situation."