Martin Truex Jr. started last in the Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and lost car chief Blake Harris after failing inspection via the new optical scanning station for the third time ahead of qualifying.
Truex also received an additional penalty of 30 minutes added to his final practice time and started 35th at the second Monster NASCAR Cup Series Race of the season.
According to NASCAR's senior vice president of competition Scott Miller, while inside the inspection tent, the 78 team faced issues with their rear wheel alignment and rear toe. Furniture Row No. 78 crew chief Cole Pearn declined to comment on the situation. However, Team President Joe Garone did go on to say that this was nothing more than a matter of inconsistent readings before adding that the readings change every time a car goes through.
Miller, though, refuted the accusation and pointed out how many were successful in their first attempt, even going as far as to say that they only received one negative comment so far.
If nothing else, No. 78 should be happy about this. Miller had already implied that the team was actively trying to avoid trying to clear a fourth inspection. Had they pushed through and failed for the fourth time, their crew chief would have been ejected. The team would also have received a 10-point deduction.
Fellow competitor Kyle Busch, who has an alliance with Truex's team and supplies Toyota chassis via Joe Gibbs Racing team, was a bit surprised that only No. 78 failed the initial inspections. “I certainly would have guessed there would have been more," Busch said, "I honestly have no clue on what happened to them."
The 2018 season saw NASCAR roll out a new inspection process, consisting of three stations: engines, chassis, and the state-of-the-art camera and projector-based station.