NASCAR confiscates roof flap spacers from 16 Sprint Cup, 15 Nationwide cars at Daytona

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Controversy arose Thursday at Daytona International Speedway when 16 Sprint Cup teams were found to have modified roof flap spacers, which are against NASCAR rules.

According to numerous tweets and media reports, NASCAR confiscated all the improper spacers.

Early Thursday evening, it was learned that 15 additional cars on the NASCAR Nationwide Series also had their roof flap spacers confiscated.

“The manufacturers supply you with a kit for the spacers on the roof flaps, and these 16 cars were not in compliance,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said, according to a report by USA Today.

Cars listed as possessing the improper equipment are those of Jamie McMurray, defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards.

All 16 teams were prevented from taking part in Thursday’s first practice session, but were eventually allowed to join the 90-minute period after proper spacers were installed.

Nine of the 16 Sprint Cup cars are Fords, six are Toyotas and just one is a Chevrolet.

Nationwide Series drivers whose cars had their roof flap spacers confiscated included those of Bayne, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Dexter Stacey,  Michael Annett, Cole Whitt, Mike Bliss, Robert Richardson, Jason White, Blake Koch, Landon Cassill and Travis Pastrana. Sprint Cup drivers who will be competing in Friday’s Nationwide Series race that also had the roof flaps on their NNS cars confiscated included Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch.

Roof flaps are similar to airplane flaps, in that once deployed they are used to slow a car down, and particularly in the case of a spinning car, to keep it from becoming airborne.

There is no word what, if any, penalties will be handed down by NASCAR officials.

A.J. Allmendinger led all drivers in the first practice with a top lap of 200.218 mph.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”