Joe Gibbs Racing busted

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:24 PM ET

BROOKLYN, MICH. - Coach Joe Gibbs is in trouble with NASCAR.

The three-time Super Bowl champion coach of the Washington Redskins is boss at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Joe Gibbs Racing squad.

In pre-race inspections at Michigan International Speedway Friday NASCAR officials found that the three Gibbs Toyota teams — the No. 18 of Kyle Busch, the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin and the No. 20 of Joey Logano — were all using unapproved oil pans.

It is believed the offending oil pans were bigger than ones approved by NASCAR. If so that would give the Gibbs teams more weight in the bottom of the car, which on a big track like MIS would be a definite advantage.

NASCAR sent out a short statement, saying the oil pans “had not been submitted for prior approval.”

NASCAR also ordered the three teams to change the oil pan and that further penalties could be assessed in the next week.

All three Gibbs teams elected not only to change oil pans but to change all of their engines prior to Friday’s Sprint Cup practice sessions.

“There was a little difference of opinion on this, so we all (three teams) elected to change engines,” Gibbs crew chief Greg Zipadelli told mikemulhern.net. “We didn’t have to change it before practice. But we all decided the best thing to do was to change and go back to what we had.

“It’s not a weight thing; it’s not like it’s a heavy part (for lower centre of gravity). It’s about a little bit of horsepower and getting it to fit into our car, and keep the motor as low in the car as we can.

“Just trying to take advantage of every little area we can.”

Lewis, Stewart swap cars

Ever since Juan Pablo Montoya defected to NASCAR from Formula One there has been a steady stream — from Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve to Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen — of former F1 champions who have tried to make the transition.

The latest rumoured to be interested is another world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton tried out Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International earlier this week as part of a media promotion for Mobil 1.

Hamilton, while stating that he still has unfinished business in F1, said he would never say never to a NASCAR career.

And given his results so far this season, it might be something he should give some thought to.

“I grew up wanting to be Formula One world champion,” Hamilton said. “I’ve definitely not achieved all that I want to. I’ll definitely be spending as much time there until I do achieve what I’ve always wanted to do.”

“(But) you never know what you’re doing in five years time.”

He said he was both impressed and intrigued by the much, bigger and heavier stock car at the one-time F1 track in New York.

“I always take it a day at a time, but I definitely wouldn’t say I would never be racing these,” he said. “I’d love to try it one day.”

As for Stewart he said his days of dreaming of an F1 career are over, but he did enjoy driving the Mercedes F1 car at the Glen.

“I’m glad I didn’t get this experience 20 years ago, because this was cool and it would have made that decision of running open-wheeled cars versus NASCAR that much more difficult,” he said.


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