Reddit investigators were back at it again. r/NASCAR is a great source of information and really the first place that had the Chase Elliott tape incident at Chicago. This time the investigation has turned to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his roof hatch at superspeedways.
Did Ricky Stenhouse’s Team Modify The Roof Hatch?
Well, maybe but not in the way the Reddit poster thinks. You can read his original post here. Essentially what the poster thinks is going on here is the #17 modified the roof hatch to sit more snug with the rest of the roof. Yeah, a very bizarre thing for the hatch to match the roof perfectly. Likely the thing NASCAR wants the most, that’s what the #17 team was doing. They were being overly legal and that’s not a crime, just annoying like a teacher’s pet.
If you look at the hatch in other driver’s cars you can see the light leaking in around the edges of the hatch like this;
If you look at Stenhouse’s hatch you can see the amount of light being allowed in is far less;
And now we have a conspiracy. But not really because they are really not doing anything wrong here. Sealing the roof hatch like that isn’t illegal. NASCAR welcomes proper fitting parts that don’t try to exploit a gray area. The Reddit poster points out how Stenhouse jumped on his car after his wins at Talladega and Daytona. He mentions that Stenhouse appears to look where he plants his foot. That could easily be because he doesn’t want to fall. The hatch is sitting aginst the roof already, stepping on it won’t push it down any further.
Cheating Would Actually Look Like This
If Stenhouse’s team was actually cheating they’d want the back of that roof hatch to be up in the air a little. The amount of light you see in the Dale Jr. picture is ideal. If the back of that hatch is up in the air a little it will take air off the rear spoiler, thus taking downforce off the rear of the car and allowing them to go faster. That’s cheating. Making the hatch fit super snug isn’t cheating, that’s just obeying the rules. His stepping on the roof didn’t do anything.
People love to point to the time Stenhouse put tape over the in-car camera after a wreck in the fall Talladega race. When he removes the tape it appears there is more light showing around the roof hatch. It’s hard to tell because of the light outside of the car. However he’s traveling at low speed, the hatch has no force working against it on either side. Stenhouse easily could have done that to make people talk.
The thing that gets me is, this is Roush Fenway Racing we’re talking about here. If there was something to find with that hatch Joe Gibbs, Penske or Hendrick would have figured it out already. No offense to the boys and girls at RFR but they haven’t been on the cutting edge of innovation in quite some time. Maybe, just maybe the RFR Ford just had more power than the other cars in the field. The roof hatch certainly did not win him two races.
And with that, the Reddit investigation was fun but there’s really nothing here like there was with Chase Elliott.
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