NASCAR changed the rules to eliminate the skew in the rear suspension in 2017. The idea: Make the cars harder to drive, and the real talent behind the wheel will shine.
In order to enforce the rules, NASCAR has had to kick some folks in the, ahem, rear.
The latest was Joey Logano, whose win Sunday at Richmond International Raceway won't count toward making the playoffs, and he won't get the valuable five playoff points that could determine how far he advances through the postseason.
That's because NASCAR determined the team's truck trailing arm was unattached -- the team says by about 1/32nd of an inch -- between its spacer and the pinion shim, violating the rule that requires it to be flush. The theory is that when it's not flush, the car is easier to drive through the corner.
According to the NASCAR rulebook, the sanction of not counting the win or awarding the playoff points was an automatic penalty. It's big, and it shows NASCAR's commitment to cracking down on rules pertaining to the rear suspension area.
On Friday, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series director Richard Buck wouldn't characterize this as a point of emphasis. He did say that the rulebook this year has a lot of additional detail and engineering language so NASCAR can enforce the rear suspension rules.
"It really is a natural progression in the sport," Buck said. "Anything that has performance related to it, the more performance you can gain from whatever element it is on the car we've seen through the years in the past, the teams will hone in on it.
"They're super-smart. Our job is to write the rules; it's our job to understand what is going on the garage, write the rules, the procedures and enforce them. And that's really what we've been doing."
If anyone knows that NASCAR has enhanced the rules in this area, it's Logano and his team. Their Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, had too much rear skew in his car in March at Phoenix. His crew chief was suspended three races and Keselowski was docked 35 points, a penalty that Team Penske is appealing.