PENSACOLA, Fla. — Thursday night’s Pro Truck division feature at Five Flags Speedway was thrust into the spotlight after the top three finishers were disqualified for various technical infractions.
Of that trio, the leading pair — apparent winner Cody Haskins and runner-up Grant Thompson — saw their finishing positions stripped due to engine issues related to the cylinder heads.
Third-place Donnie Hamrac lost his position thanks to a left-side weight violation, ultimately elevating Jarrett Parker to the win after he had finished fourth.
But it was the two engine-related disqualifications that caught the eye of many fans and onlookers.
Chief Snowball Derby technical inspector Ricky Brooks took some time Friday to speak with SPEED SPORT regarding some of the things he saw in the two engines that led to the disqualifications of Haskins and Thompson.
“The heads had been modified, mainly on the short turn radiuses and the intake and exhaust ports,” Brooks explained. “And then the valve job on one of them … and the valves had been changed on another one.”
Despite the look of two major technical infractions relating to engine components, Brooks said he didn’t put any of the weight of those infractions on the teams themselves.
“Somebody had to do this prior to the engine being assembled and putting a seal on it,” Brooks noted. “The seals were not altered. The teams have to put faith in their engine builders … and they bought something with good faith that is supposed to be legal. By no means did I see anything that led to me to believe that either team did anything (of ill intent).
“This (technical issue) came from the engine builder.”
Both engines — the race-winning power plant of Haskins’ and runner-up Thompson’s — were prepared by KMF Racing Engines LLC, owned by Kevin Fisher of Burns, Tenn.
A statement of apology from Burns was issued to Thompson’s team on Friday in the wake of the disqualifications, a copy of which was provided to SPEED SPORT.
“KMF Racing Engines LLC would like to apologize to Grant Thompson for an engine failing to pass tech due to infractions on cylinder heads,” the apology read. “We were hired by Grant Thompson to built the best 602 engine of our ability that would pass tech. After post-race engine inspection, we were disqualified for infractions found in cylinder heads.
“KMF Racing Engines LLC sincerely apologizes to Grant Thompson and (his) team.”