Woody Pitkat’s Buzz Chew Racing Whelen Modified Tour Team Penalized For Motor Infractions

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR announced Wednesday that they have penalized the No. 88 Buzz Chew Racing NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team for a rules infraction from last week’s NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200.

The infraction was discovered in post race inspection after Woody Pitkat drove the team’s entry to victory in Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The details of the infraction and penalty are below, according to a NASCAR release:

This infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
20D-4.1: General Engine Eligibility: B. As an option, Teams may compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour/Whelen Southern Modified Tour with a NASCAR-approved “Spec Engine”. If used, the “Spec Engine” must be completely assembled using only NASCAR-approved “Spec Engine” components without any modifications.

INFRACTION: Non-approved fasteners were used.

The options for a P2 penalty are outlined in the following sections of the NASCAR rule book: 12-4.2: P2 Penalty Options: A. Minor fasteners, nuts, bolts, etc. of the wrong material, but not of a nature rising to higher numbered Penalties.

As a result of this violation, crew chief Ron Ste-Marie has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.

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  1. crazy larry says

    WOW NO LOSE OF POINTS , REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. It was a penalty for the fasteners they used. That’s like using Velcro instead of shoe laces. The 88 team earned and deserved that win.

  3. old observer says

    I’m guessing you’re not a Woody fan. You can’t spell either(loss).
    I don’t think a few nuts & bolts in the engine made much difference. They have been fast at Stafford for awhile. They were dialed in the whole race.
    Was surprised a Spec engine received a penalty as much as NASCAR favors them.

  4. Randy Higginson says

    I think your use of the term “Motor Infractions”, as well as the “Penalized” in your headline were just a little overboard. Nuts and/or bolts that were not approved by NASCAR were found in use. the crew chief was placed on probation. There were no violations found that could be construed as being used to gain a competitive advantage.

  5. Ok
    How can a bolt nut or washer be an advantage? How does one tell if they were not “approved”?

  6. Really no penalty, if he keeps win and points!!!!

  7. Andy Boright says

    At least it wasn’t double-secret probation.

    I bet those illegal bolts were a real difference maker too.

  8. Hmmmm… I wonder what all the infractions were.

    Did NASCAR really need to confiscate the engine to determine it had improper fasteners??? LOL!!!!

    What else was ‘improper’?

    I suppose the crazy performance which made NASCAR realize they needed to take a closer look at the 88 engine was due to the improper fasteners.


  9. Randy Higginson,

    Here’s the headline from the press release distributed by NASCAR on the issue: “No. 88 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Team Penalized For Rules Violations At Stafford Motor Speedway”

  10. Weighing on my mind says

    Well I’m guessing titanium rod bolts might be the deal here. How many fasteners are actually specified? Not too many and these would make a good difference. Every gram matters in the rotating assy and especially the rod and piston weight.

    That being said, woddy did a great job and deserves the win. Preece’s illegal head at Thompson was a much more blatant cheating move if you ask me.

  11. kevin t says

    Nascar took the motor for a fastner violation.lmao.Are u kidding me.We are all not this stupid.There had to be more to it then that.We will never know.

  12. Why the crew chief???? Most teams crew chiefs have ordinary jobs and don’t touch the engine… Should penalize the engine builder, they are the ones who make a living doing this. Every engine builder should have to join nascar as a certified builder, this would make engine builders more honest

  13. There is so much wrong here…

    1. This SPEC motor was not built to SPEC. Wonder what else was not to ‘SPEC’?

    If you follow the SPEC motor situation, it is a joke. Parts, non-SPEC parts, are regularly substituted. MAJOR PARTS. So when NASCAR’s chosen engine supplier substitutes non-SPEC parts, what are you gonna to do?

    2. No penalty? An infraction occurred and there is no penalty? Putting a crew chief on probation until Dec. 31 is as stupid as double secret probation. Probation is not a penalty. The team can just name another person as the crew chief and the other one still functions as the crew chief. An infraction without a penalty is like an unenforceable law, or a law that is ignored. NASCAR does it to itself with this. There must be a payout and points penalty. The payout penalty must hurt, and the points must sting.

    3. From the NASCAR press release: “A. Minor fasteners, nuts, bolts, etc. of the wrong material, but not of a nature rising to higher numbered Penalties.”

    ‘Minor fasteners’ of the wrong material, and ‘… not of a nature…’ really means something NASCAR doesn’t want to talk about. Wrong material is the key. That probably means non-magnetic, most likely titanium fasteners were used. The thing is, a nut to hold the carburetor on to the intake is minor and should not even be on the SPEC motor parts list. But if a FASTENER is on the SPEC motor parts list, it isn’t a minor fastener. I don’t think NASCAR would check for titanium nuts holding the carburetor on the intake manifold. I’m thinking some non-magnetic fasteners were used. Now tell me, what ‘minor’ fasteners would you use non-magnetic material? Titanium fasteners are expensive, only used where they would be beneficial. Like on the con-rods. LOL!!! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and ‘minor’ needs to be spelled out so that it doesn’t become a subjective call and change with the weather. The fasteners used in the SPEC engine need better definition.

    4. There are strategic differences in the built and SPEC engines, and certain tracks prefer one engine over the other. There are teams that have both built and SPEC engines, and they ran the built engine at Stafford. For good reason. The SPEC engine has a heavier crank and rotating mass. If you didn’t have a built motor for Stafford, you’d want to reduce the rotating mass of the SPEC engine any way you could, and titanium con-rod bolts would be a way. All those bolts add up to quite a bit of weight. There are so many differences between the SPEC and built motors, that dynos just can’t measure and allow the engines to be made equal.

    5. In the past, there have been a few things that were sacred… if you messed with it, you get smacked. Engines were one of those things, along with tires. Now that a SPEC engine was not to specification, this should be considered a MAJOR infraction. Especially since it is NASCAR’s coveted SPEC engine, an engine that is supposed to be a performance clone.

    NASCAR confiscated the motor and found a ‘minor’ fastener violation. hehehe…

    Something tells me somebody did something very clever with the SPEC motor. Good thing they have a month to get it fixed.


    Rules???? We don’t need no stinking rules!!!!!

    I’m thinking when a car wins and these minor infractions are found, the driver and owner lose all bonus points. A car that has rules infractions can not be allowed to win and keep all the payout and points. There needs to be tangible consequences for these transgressions, for once.

  14. Steve, so true and I agree. What is the point of “penalizing” the crew chief? It’s all for show. Penalize the driver (points) and the owner (points and $).

    The issue rests somewhere with Robert Yates Racing Engines, the engine builder, and/or the car owner. RYR is so deep with NASCAR, they can do anything they want. NASCAR handed the SPEC engine to RYR to be a monopoly. For those that don’t know, the SPEC engine can only be supplied by Robert Yates Racing Engines, assembled by RYR, or as a kit to be assembled by some other builder.

    If it was titanium con-rod fasteners, it wasn’t a simple mistake. It was deliberate. An engine builder wouldn’t do it on his own, his reputation is at stake. But if pressured by an owner, the builder is in a tough spot. Build the SPEC engine with the non-specified fasteners, or definitely lose a customer. And the builder is still in a tough spot for he really can’t go and say the customer made me do it. Engine builders to what the customer tells them to do.

  15. Chris D. says

    I strongly agree with Steve, why does the engine builder have no responsibility in this matter, assuming the “fastener” was an internal component, not something used outside of the block or heads. These engine builders are laughing all the way to the bank.

  16. Steady Eddie Fan says

    Buts it Woody “Stafford” Pitkat

  17. just a fan says

    now starts the trickle down effect….how many of these trick not approved parts are floating around in other spec motors that Billy the Squid put together ?????? they’re probably lining up at his door right now…the big thing here is who pays for all this ???????? pull the motor …transport it to his shop…take it apart to get it legal again …then put things in reverse to just get it back were you started in the car ready to race….then he tells you with that i am your best friend voice ….oooo well ya know we have it apart anyway we should just re-fresh it with rings, bearing, valve job and we should also re-dyno it so you don’t have any trouble at the track chasing the motor …plus it will be a good time to look over everything after you put some laps on it…..fly on the wall ….heard this tune before …his fault but puts the spin on it and in the end costs the car owner time and money …he gets paid twice for his !!!!!!

  18. kevin t says

    What exactly was in infraction.NOT just a general statement.Maybe it wasn’t all that everyone is making out of it.Or maybe it is more.Nascar needs to completely explain the infraction.Not just state a plause from the rulebook.Let everyone know EXACTLY what was done.Or is it none of our business?

  19. Can someone post the lists of SPEC engine minor and major fasteners?

  20. NASCAR was relieved to find the fastener violation.

    Now can they explain the exceptional horsepower the 88 had?

  21. Chris D., the engine builders are not laughing all the way to the bank. They are nothing more than assemblers when it comes to the SPEC motor. No porting, head work, machining, custom cam, crank grinding, etc. At best the builders clearance the bearings and clean things up. Just assemble it, no messing with it.

    The SPEC engine REDUCED the business of the engine builders, drastically.

  22. just a fan says

    here’s how it starts !!!! hey billy… how can you make a spec motor better than the one that comes right from yates ….well …. we can do a couple things to pick it up that they don”t do….. how much more power and how much will it cost ? ……ok cool lets do it ….

  23. These so-called low cost SPEC motors are up to $40k, then all the costs to try to goose them some more, without being detectable, of course.

  24. crazy larry says

    Seems to me tech has failed instead of checking my spelling maybe you should be checking those parts , illegal parts first time shame on you, second time shame on me the third time is the charm look out!! Let’s all stop ASSuming what the problem was and MoveOn just stirring the pot lol.

  25. crazy larry says

    20D-4.1: General Engine Eligibility: B. As an option, Teams may compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour/Whelen Southern Modified Tour with a NASCAR-approved “Spec Engine”. If used, the “Spec Engine” must be completely assembled using only NASCAR-approved “Spec Engine” components without any modifications .INFRACTION: Non-approved fasteners were used THE RULE WAS BROKEN SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LOSS SECOND-PLACE WINS !

  26. just a fan says

    goodfella ….. they are not 40k ….28k complete right off the dyno from yates including the carb ….open motor from the rape artists engine builder are 40k no carb ….another $2500 for that …they could sell them for the same price as the spec and still make a good living ….they started all this by ripping off the racer bad ….there would not be a spec if they did not get so greedy….its all on them period …that is a fact…they took it to the bank for years….

  27. On the RYR website, the SPEC engine is $29k, assembled, no dyno test.

    On the LFR website, the Roush SPEC engine is $35,200 including assembly and dyno.

    The SPEC engine is a package, that also requires much more supporting hardware. Add another $5-$10K.

    Go for the Dart block over the GM, add about $3k.

    So that looks like $40k.

  28. just a fan says

    sorry goodfella…. i am wrong had to look back at my notes …yates changed there prices for 2015 ….just like the others engine builders did for years they are a photo copy….with no market for the mod tour there prices for the spec stayed the same for years …now because of gear rule changes by nascar the torque curve and big carb of the spec…has overcome the lack of acceleration it had because of the heavy bottom end ….so by the end of last year a few of the top teams start to buy them and the game is on …change the pan and move oil pump to the other side …more money…dart block option more money…people now what it …more money. ….this was also in part because the open engine builders just sat on there butts and let it happen instead of changing theres to keep up ….i did talk to the guys at yates and here’s the deal for 2015….24,500 for the engine as a kit….add 4500 for them to put it together and DYNO it ….they dyno all there motors they put together…dart block option 3000…rip off still a aluminum block which is the real problem ….and the big hit …it no longer comes with the carb…add another 1199….. .the only other thing you need is a L.S. chevy flywheel …you can use any chevy bellhousing clutch set-up same as a open motor…any headers you want same as the open …not a fan at all of the spec. …just me but this is what i would do …buy a good used open motor now a dime a dozen …10-15,000 ,,,buy a used K@N spec they are as cheap as10- 15 with only a couple races on them from the million dollar cup backed teams that use them only that much because they don’t want engine troubles …find a top drag race engine builder …not the tour guys…bring him both motors and tell him to make the open kill the spec !!!!….for that matter for the right price i can tell you how to do it…lol…. it will cost less the 10 grand or find another guy …thats were most of the top tour engine guys started but found the big money gravy trail with the nascar mod owners years ago…its all about getting from a to b the fastest ……what’s the sport that does that …drag racing…. bonus you still have the spec …sell it …use it as a spare what ever…total cost with the spec…under 40 …you have two motors ..one a race winning spec killer

  29. old observer says

    Sorry Crazy Larry, I’m not a tech inspector but I have had some but experience in that field before.
    I also would love to know the exact infraction so I don’t make the same mistake.

  30. Yeah, it would be interesting to know exactly what the infraction was. But maybe NASCAR wants to do as much as possible to make sure that doesn’t get wide exposure.

  31. Chris D. says

    Darealgoodfella, first you say the engine builders are NOT making money off the spec motor, they are just assemblers and do very little else, hense no money to be made. Then, you say all the costs to goose them some more without being detectable… So who is goosing the motors if it’s not the poor engine builders?

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