NASCAR, Drivers Differ On Reason For Pocono Speeding Penalties

A group of reporters surrounded NASCAR's vice president of competition following Sunday's Pocono 400 and all seemed to be wondering the same thing: What was the deal with the surprising number of pit road speeding penalties?

"Cars were speeding," Pemberton said.

Though an unusually high 22 penalties were assessed for cars speeding on pit road – 20 of them for being "too fast exiting" – Pemberton said all of the penalties were due to driver or team error, not a problem with NASCAR's equipment.

"You go through that (from) time to time," he said. "We also had a gear change. Maybe (teams were) going off last year's notes and short-cutting what you do. I don't know. It's up to the race team."

Pemberton dismissed the idea there could have somehow been a problem with the scoring loops in the 10th section of pit road, where many drivers were busted.

"There's nothing wrong with the loops," he said. "There's a time to pass over them, calculates the speed and that's the end of it. Pretty simple."

Some of the drivers, though, didn't see it as such a simple issue. Kevin Harvick – who was one of those busted – called it a "problem" on Twitter, and both Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson shared that belief.

"It was obvious that the section had some kind of issue, because I know both times I got busted, I was under the limit with my tools that I have available," Keselowski said. "I was consistent down pit road, so if I was speeding in that sector, I would have been speeding in the others – but it didn't show that.

"I think there's plenty of evidence to show that there is something wrong with the section timing, with whether they're looking at who got busted or what I just said there."

Johnson also said there was "something wrong with the timing loop." His theory was the second yellow line – the one that indicates the end of pit road – was somehow "oriented differently" with the scoring loops than at other tracks.

"When we get to the end of pit road, when your nose hits the line, you take off," he said. "I did that the first time and I got nailed. Alright, maybe I just overdid it. The second time, I waited until the tail crossed the yellow line and still got pinned."

Pemberton said since the track has been repaved since last year and has a reconfigured pit road, there's a chance teams weren't using the newest information.

"The bottom line is every week, there's maps printed back here for crew chiefs to come get," Pemberton said. "Some choose to get them, some choose to measure their own lines and some go off last year.

"We put the loops in the racetrack. It's just simple math."

Would Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs really have cut corners and not done their homework on such an important issue? There's no clear answer, but one thing is for sure: A lot more research will take place when the race teams come to Pocono in August.

"We need to physically walk down and mark it off ourselves to understand what happened there," Johnson said. "We got nailed along with a lot of other guys."

List of pit road speeding penalties from the Pocono 400:

Travis Kvapil, too fast exiting on lap 3

AJ Allmendinger, too fast exiting on lap 3

Martin Truex Jr., too fast exiting on lap 4

AJ Allmendinger, too fast exiting on lap 7 (while serving penalty)

Clint Bowyer, too fast exiting on lap 17

Brad Keselowski, too fast exiting on lap 32

Jeff Gordon, too fast entering on lap 41

Jimmie Johnson, too fast exiting on lap 42

Kevin Harvick, too fast exiting on lap 42

David Reutimann, too fast entering on lap 42

Kyle Busch, too fast exiting on lap 43

Jimmie Johnson, too fast exiting on lap 43 (while serving penalty)

Travis Kvapil, too fast exiting on lap 45

David Reutimann, too fast exiting on lap 45 (while serving penalty)

Travis Kvapil, too fast exiting on lap 48 (while serving penalty)

David Ragan, too fast exiting on lap 48

Jeff Burton, too fast exiting on lap 67

JJ Yeley, too fast exiting on lap 69

Travis Kvapil, too fast exiting on lap 79

David Reutimann, too fast exiting on lap 106

Aric Almirola, too fast exiting on lap 125

Brad Keselowski, too fast exiting on lap 129

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