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NASCAR America: Dover ball joint failures concern teams

Alex Bowman is now in must-win mode after a late wreck at Dover, but due to the fact Chase Elliott has already advanced, Bowman will get plenty of help from his Hendrick teammates at Talladega.

Sunday’s Cup race at Dover saw two instances of rare ball joint failures on cars.

The first occurred on Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet during the pace laps and resulted in Johnson going to the garage for repairs before the green flag. He finished 36th, 17 laps off the lead.

The second failure happened to Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford and resulted in him crashing with less than 10 laps to go.

NASCAR America’s Marty Snider reported Monday that the incidents have caused “concern” in the NASCAR community over the rare failures.

“That’s a NASCAR-mandated part all the teams buy from one vendor,” Snider said. “There is concern --both those pieces have been sent to metallurgists -- that there might be a bad batch of ball joints. So throughout the NASCAR community, all those pieces are being changed for Talladega and moving forward.”

Watch the above video for more from Marty Snider on Sunday’s Cup race.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, discussed the ball joint failures Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

“It was a very strange failure, something that we, me as a racer and everybody in the garage area ... it’s not a part that would typically fail,” Miller said. “Very strange. We looked at the parts and stuff with the team. Going to get a full metallurgy report and see if there was potentially a bad batch of material or something that led to it because it’s not a typical failure at all.”

Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano, also addressed the part issue on “The Morning Drive,” saying it “really had me scratching my head.

“I know the Hendrick guys will be looking at it, and I’m sure the parts supplier will have an intent view on (it) because that’s not something we all play in,” Gordon said. “That’s a common part across the industry. I’d say every team is looking at that and trying to understand what happened and make sure we’re not all vulnerable, too, because if Jimmie makes it through the round last week at the Roval, that’s almost a championship-run ender for any team still in the playoffs. Something that we’ll all have to understand.

“That’s a really odd part to break. I can’t ever remember a ball joint failing especially on a pace lap like that. One when it hits the wall is one thing, but to be under normal racing scenarios and have one break, or in that case under caution. From what I understand, I don’t think it was a different part than what they what they had practiced with. Really odd timing with that one.”