The No. 3 NASCAR Chevy Camaro ZL1, driven by Austin Dillon and fielded by Richard Childress Racing (RCR), was penalized after the Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on April 16th, 2023. The race car was found to have an illegally modified part that resulted in hefty penalties, and recently, NASCAR revealed the details regarding the infraction.
On Saturday, May 6th, 2023, NASCAR officials displayed the specific part confiscated from the No. 3 NASCAR Chevy that the sanctioning body deemed illegal. The part in question is a splitter stay, which is one of six bars that serve to connect the race car’s splitter to its frame, and is part of its underwing assembly. The bar is designed to feature three securing nuts, including two jam nuts and one centered couple nut, serving to secure the splitter in place within a tolerance of one-thousand of an inch. The splitter stay is not adjustable after prerace inspection.
NASCAR displayed the part in question from the No. 3 team’s penalty post-Martinsville.
This is a splitter stay, which must stay locked in place following inspection. Here, the two jam nuts and black center coupling nut should be three separate pieces. They were bonded into one,… pic.twitter.com/E121ovNPCN
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 6, 2023
The splitter stay from the No. 3 NASCAR Chevy that was seized after Martinsville had all three nuts bonded together, creating a single bar. Doing so disabled the bar’s locking function and “permits further movement and adjustability either after prerace inspection or during a pit stop,” according to a statement from NASCAR.
In the interest of transparency, the part in question was displayed this past weekend at Kansas Speedway, in the NASCAR hauler, allowing crew chiefs and team managers from other teams to see it for themselves.
The illegally modified splitter stay resulted in a slew of penalties to the No. 3 NASCAR Chevy team, including a 60-point deduction from Dillon, while crew chief Keith Rodden was fined $75,000 and suspended for two races.
RCR did attempt to appeal the penalty on May 2nd but lost, and as such, the fines and point deductions will be upheld.