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NASCAR official explains penalty to Jimmie Johnson’s team at Homestead

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 - Practice

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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A NASCAR executive said that Jimmie Johnson’s team was penalized for manipulating the car’s bodywork by the jackman slamming into the side the car.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday that officials saw the infraction when reviewing the stop on video.

NASCAR ordered Johnson to come to pit road on Lap 32 to have his crew fix the right quarter panel. He also went to the tail end of the field during the caution period and received a pass-through penalty, per the rules, once the race resumed under green-flag conditions. Johnson finished ninth in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We had a lot of discussion in talking to the teams during the year about manipulating any of the side skirts during a race,’’ O’Donnell said. “We noticed a trend of instead of someone directly pulling out a side skirt, we saw some of the crew members either accidentally or on purpose bump into the cars and create an aerodynamic advantage.

“We had a penalty that was very clear in place if anyone did it. In this case, very clear video evidence of the jackman not necessarily helping the car but really running right into it to, in our eyes, create a potential aero advantage and the penalty is spelled out what that is. Made the call based on multiple cameras angles and what we saw in that case.’’

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