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Martin Truex Jr.’s car found with questionable parts, penalty ‘unlikely’

If NASCAR issues a penalty to Martin Truex Jr., it could affect the Chase playoffs.

NASCAR confiscated a left-front jack screw off Martin Truex Jr.'s Furniture Row Racing car prior to Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Any potential penalties could impact Truex's championship eligibility, though NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said after qualifying it was "unlikely" the sanctioning body would issue a points penalty. Typically penalties are announced on Wednesday after a race weekend.

Truex is one of a dozen drivers remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff, with the four lowest-ranked drivers without a Round 2 victory eliminated following Sunday's Hellmann's 500. He is winless and 13 points ahead of the cutoff entering the elimination race.

Both Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn dismissed that the No. 78 team intentionally tried to skirt NASCAR inspection with a non-conforming bolt. Truex called it "nonsense," while Pearn referred to it as a "stupid mistake" that led to NASCAR seizing the parts. He said it was "clearly" unintentional because the jack screw in question were only used on one part of the car.

"I know people like to think we're brilliant geniuses that have malicious plans to cheat the system somehow, but sometimes we're just stupid and make mistakes," Pearn said.

After the jack screws were confiscated and Truex's car passed technical inspection, he won the pole for Sunday's race with a lap of 193.423 mph.

"All the crazy talk going on today is nonsense," Truex said. "I think people speculate on things and don't really know what they are. The jack bolt issue is really not a big issue."