Just three weeks into the racing season at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC), Trey Gibson has already experienced a rollercoaster ride. After being disqualified from a third-place finish due to a shock infraction on opening night, the Easley, South Carolina driver bounced back one week ago to score his first win of the season at his home track. But fast forward to this past Friday night and Gibson once again found himself on the receiving end of a penalty following post-race technical inspection.
Gibson appeared to have secured his second win of the season when the checkered flag waved in the 100-lap Late Model Stock Car feature at the historic South Carolina half-mile oval. But his performance on the track would be all for naught when track officials disqualified his finish due to a motor infraction.
Speed51.com confirmed the disqualification with Gibson Monday morning.
According to a press release issued by the track, Gibson’s violation was an “unapproved modification of a crate engine lifter.” Section 20F-4.1 of the 2015 NASCAR Rulebook states, “The GM#88958604 or #19318604 crate-type engine will be permitted and must be used as supplied by the manufacturer and/or per the specifications manual provided by the manufacturer.”
Although the team accepted the penalty, it was one they were unaware of prior to the findings on Friday night. Gibson’s uncle Randy Porter, who had previously driven the car and now oversees Gibson’s racing operation, explained the infraction to Speed51.com on Monday.
“It was a stock GM lifter. The motor guy had said it was good to go,” said Porter. But there was one piece with spring, cup and ball. It was supposed to be cup, spring and ball. Ours was cup, ball and spring. That let the lifter compress about 50,000ths and made it more akin to a solid lifter. The hydraulic lifters have about 60,000ths of movement. What he did to the lifter took a lot of the movement out of it. It was a stock lifter, but one of the pieces was swapped.”
Porter, who was one of the drivers chasing current track General Manager Anthony Anders, the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion, on a weekly basis one year ago, says that the change to the stock lifter dates back to last year.
“About mid-season on running against Anthony Anders and the Ford power he had, we broke valves in two motors trying to turn RPM’s required to keep up with him,” said Porter. “In a nutshell, after we broke two motors, he fixed the lifters this way to keep us from tearing up motors. No real power gain, just a fact of when I was trying to turn 7,000 RPM’s without these lifters I broke valves. Once he made this change and made it more of a solid lifter I could turn 7,000 RPM’s without tearing my motor up. But it was all done in an attempt to keep up with Anthony. That’s the whole gist of the story.
“We’ll put a set of stock ones back in it and I don’t think it will hurt it one bit. We’ll back off 100 RPM’s probably, but he’s not having to chase Anthony this year so we shouldn’t’ have an issue.”
Competition officials found Gibson’s engine to be in violation of the rulebook and credited him with an 18th-place finish. Former track champion David Roberts, who returned to the track this year after an extended absence, was credited with the win after finishing second on the race track.
Bob Root was credited with third, while William Byron, Scott Heckert and Josh Berry rounded out the official top-five.
Attempts made by 51 to reach Greenville-Pickens General Manager, Anthony Anders, were unsuccessful as of print time. Stay tuned to Speed51.com for further updates to this story as they develop.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Greenville Pickens Speedway