DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- NASCAR officials announced Friday that the car Jimmie Johnson had planned to drive in the Daytona 500 had failed opening-day inspection.
Parts from the car were confiscated for further inspection, casting a pall on the opening of the season for the five-time Sprint Cup series champion.
The panel that connects the back of the car's roof to the top of the rear deck was found to be outside specifications, and was sent to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in North Carolina.
"The (No.) 48 car had a body modification on it that was outside of what our tolerances are or what the original surface definitions for the body were," Sprint Cup Director John Darby said. "There were some obvious modifications that the template inspectors picked up on and we did some additional inspections with some gauges and stuff and found that they were just too far out of tolerance to fix. So they were removed from the car.
"I think the team is working now on getting the correct pieces flown down here [from North Carolina], so they can get them all welded back in."
The car must go through another inspection before it can take part in the first Daytona practice, which is scheduled for Saturday. Qualifying to determine the front row for the race will be held Sunday.
There was no indication what penalties, if any, might be forthcoming. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said any penalties would not be announced until after the Daytona 500 is run Feb. 26.
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