Chase Elliott didn’t set the world on fire during The Tales of The Turtle 400 at Chicagoland, but his second place finish was a step in the right direction for a driver chasing his first career championship and hoping to make it to the second round of the playoffs. With that being said, the finish was encumbered after it was discovered that Elliott’s team made an illegal modification to the car to make it go faster.
According to NASCAR.com, “During post-race inspection, the No. 24 Chevrolet was discovered to be in violation of Section 20.20 in the NASCAR Rule Book — modification of components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle.” NASCAR responded by issuing a Level 1 penalty to Chase Elliott and his team, which carried many severe punishments for the championship hopeful.
The punishment for such an offense was Elliott being docked 15 driver points, which drops him from 6th to 8th in the point standings, and 15 owner points as well. Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson was fined 25,000 dollars and suspended for one race. Car chief Joshua Kirk was also suspended for one race and Hendrick Motorsports released a statement later in the day saying they would not appeal the penalty.
While the penalty seems like nothing new, especially since NASCAR has come down particularity hard on penalties this season, the situation becomes much more interesting when you examine video of Chase Elliott’s post race interview, where some fans claim you can clearly see a crew member on Elliott’s team rub off a piece of tape from the car before inspection.
This quickly became a conspiracy theory to NASCAR fans on Reddit and even prompted Brad Keselowski to respond by calling NASCAR fans The FBI for their deep diggings into the matter. Even more interesting then the conspiracy itself, its that a supposed source has come forward with information that the tape that was removed by the crew member could have been the reason for the penalty.