SPEEDWAY, IND. — Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 and 18 teams returned to the NASCAR Cup Series inspection line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, five days after both cars were disqualified in post-race tech at Pocono Raceway. Instead of starting and finishing 1-2 last Sunday, teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were knocked out at the back of the final order, giving the victory to third-place finisher Chase Elliott.
JGR officials earlier this week opted to appeal against the fines for modifications to the front fascia of both the cars. On Friday, it was back to business for both teams.
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“I think we’ve all admitted that we made a mistake or error in the manufacturing process,” Ben Beshore, No. 18 crew chief, told NASCAR.com. “So we accept the penalty, and yes, we’re going to go ahead, go ahead and try to best Indy this weekend.”
Had there been a win, Hamlin would have been on par with Elliott as the only three-time winner of the series. Instead, Elliott stands alone as the four-time winner, and Hamlin became the first driver to rescind the victory since 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis was docked for an illegal fuel tank.
11 Toyota took off Friday in an effort to turn the page, without the impending uncertainty of the Pocono appeal.
“There were things we needed to do better, so that’s what we’re focused on,” Chris Gebehardt, No. 11 crew chief, told NASCAR.com. “The appeals process is generally a very tall mountain to climb. It takes a lot of effort and exercise, and history shows you how it goes. So we’re focusing more on that internally. How can we get better, just like we do every week.”
Hamlin tried to at least shed light on the situation on social media the day after the decision, happy trophy offer And champagne for eBay auction fodder. But deep down, Gebehardt says, ruling smart, and it’s all for those who make up No. 11.
“It stinks to everyone, not just Denny. Denny is a member of this 11 team—one member. It stinks to everyone, and if it doesn’t, I’ll be frustrated with that intensity.” With which 11 the team wants to win,” Gabehart said. “So it stinks for everyone, but it is also motivating. With 11 cars in three and a half years, we have come through a lot together. We have won many races. I don’t know of any team that won more in that time frame, but we’ve lost too many races. So it’s no different. We will learn from it, get better and move forward.”