DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona 500 winning team owner Roger Penske addressed the wheels that were confiscated by NASCAR officials after last Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races.
NASCAR also confiscated the wheels for RFK Racing following the qualifying race.
With the new 18-inch wheels that use just one wheel nut, Team Penske cleaned out the inside of the wheels. It’s a common practice on Team Penske’s IndyCar and IMSA teams.
NASCAR, however, remained steadfast to the rule that no modifications can be done to the wheels and believed it was more than simply cleaning the wheels.
Penske discussed the issue after one of his drivers, Austin Cindric, won Sunday’s 64th Daytona 500.
“I think that anybody who was at the race today, you talk to most of the teams, they all had trouble with wheels, didn’t they. It wasn’t something that was unique,” Penske said. “We had contacted NASCAR a week before and said that the wheels we were getting were not all the same, and we felt we needed to modify the holes where the drive pins go.
“We didn’t really get any feedback, and at that point we went ahead and opened the holes up. In fact, when you look at it, they’re much bigger than they would have been – smaller, excuse me, than we had either on IndyCar or on sports car.
“I just think there was so much going on and trying to get the communication back and forth – we certainly talked about it with them. This wasn’t something we did under the covers trying to beat anybody. It was right there.
“They took all our wheels, and we ran today with wheels that we had up at the shop, came down, they were certainly like everybody else’s, I think.”
Len Wood of the Wood Brothers told SPEED SPORT before Sunday’s Daytona 500 that there is a clearance issue with the wheels and the wheels expand from the heat and friction on the track. Wood believes it will be more of an issue on tracks where the brakes are used extensively, such as Martinsville Speedway and other short tracks and road courses on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.