While his team owner spent the weekend celebrating a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in Las Vegas, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell just kept celebrating empty victories.
After qualifying on the unofficial pole for the Snowball Derby and setting a new track record on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway, Bell failed post-qualifying technical inspection. He had the top spot and record taken away, and officials stuck him at the back of the field for the last-chance qualifying race. It’s always been a dream of his to get a track record, but as Bell described it the night of, “That was short lived.”
But here’s the thing—he went out and met the exact same fate in the Snowball Derby on Sunday. After climbing from 31st position to win the race, Bell rolled out of tech with a “DQ” stamped by his name thanks to a left-side weight.
The victory went to second-place finisher Chase Elliott, who passed post-race tech and took a redemption win—just two years ago, Elliott failed inspection for tungsten and had his victory passed onto KBM driver Erik Jones after the fact.
While the prevalence of disqualifications sounds a bit odd, that’s how things work at the Snowball Derby. It’s a no-points race, and head technical inspector Ricky Brooks has no problem tossing the winner out if need be.
Around here, post-race technical inspection is known as the “race after the race.” Fans crowd the tech shed and wait for a verdict, while Brooks ensures a meticulous inspection of the top-three cars inside of the “Room of Doom” (seriously, there are even T-shirts made about this doom room).
So, 300 laps of racing can be cancelled out by virtue of one lap through the tech shed. Unfortunately for Bell and the KBM crew, that’s exactly what happened this year.
But after Bell’s disqualification, all attention went to Jeff Gordon’s successor for the 2016 season, Elliott, to see if he’d survive tech. If not—you guessed it—it’s onto the next car.
Here’s Elliott waiting to hear his fate:
Turns out that no tungsten ruined Elliott’s weekend this time around, and employees peeled Bell’s name from the trophy to paste that of the new winner.
Elliott grabbed the trophy and heaved it overhead—perhaps forgetting that he was still in the tech shed—and whacked the ceiling with the snowball topper on his prize. If Brooks inspected the trophy as well, it would probably fail after being knocked out of alignment like that.
And while Elliott hoisted the trophy (as high as it would go), KBM team boss Kyle Busch had some interesting commentary about his driver failing tech:
The whole “We don’t need to cheat to win” line was pretty witty, but perhaps the best response the whole ordeal was a fan tweeting Busch with a request of “M&M’s please...large.”
Yes—since he didn’t win the race as a team owner, he’ll probably have to resort to serving M&M’s as a career. Not.
Photo credit: Alanis King/Jalopnik
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.