HAMPTON, Ga. - Jack Roush provided show-and-tell Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to protest his team's lack of "complicity" in violations found on Carl Edwards' race-winning car last week at Las Vegas.
The rest of the garage, however, seemed far from convinced.
"These race cars are very complex," said Roush, who owns Edwards' No. 99 Fords. "There are lots of fasteners in them. Fasteners fail because they get hit and fasteners fail because the harmonics go through the car. Fasteners fail."
Roush had with him the oil reservoir cover that was loose inside Edwards' car following the victory on the UAW-Dodge 400 as well as the fastener that Roush said "backed out" during the race, allowing the cover to come loose.
That loose cover resulted in Edwards losing 100 driver points plus 10 bonus points he would get for that win if he makes the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Roush also lost 100 car owner points. Crew chief Bob Osborne was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races.
"It was tight and it was secure when the race started," Roush said of the cover. "Some time in those 400 miles, that thing decided to pack it in and vibrate loose. I have no idea (why). I was not complicit. Carl Edwards was not complicit."
Edwards, who has won the past two Sprint Cup races, said he'd be willing to prove his Ford could win at Las Vegas without the problem.
"It was an absolute mistake or failure of that bolt to stay in position," he said. "There was no intent at all. ...The bottom line is I don't have anything going on Monday, so if Toyota or anyone else wants to just go line the cars up at Vegas and hire a flagman and run 400 miles again, I'd be glad to do it on Monday."
Roush, who said he is still considering whether to appeal the penalties, said he and anyone on his team involved with the part would submit to polygraph tests to indicate they did nothing to make or even help it fail.
Still, there were doubters.
"It insults my intelligence as a race car driver when you try to tell me that you accidentally left the oil lid off," driver Elliott Sadler said.
"If you go to any owner, any engineer, any driver, any crew chief and ask them is that an advantage, heck yes, it's an advantage. ...They did a good job in figuring it out and making it work, and I'm impressed how they did it. They won the race."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. agreed.
"Saying that it was a mistake and the bolt was failing was ridiculous," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"That was really comical actually. ...The crew chief (should be) out there stating an honest answer. They would be better off. ...Everybody knows the truth anyway."
Earnhardt Jr., who finished second to Edwards last week, said he doesn't believe the victory should be handed to his team in light of the violation.
"Those guys are learning things and doing things and they were wild and crazy enough to try it," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"I've got to applaud them for the effort they made to try to win the race. I myself have been guilty of pushing the rulebook and breaking the rulebook, and I can't stand here and be hypocritical of how Carl won the race.
"We got outran and we got outfoxed, not only just behind the wheel but at the shop as well. We have to figure out a way to get that advantage within the rulebook."
Roush said he's not certain the open cover, which would allow air to flow into the car from underneath it, would give Edwards' car an advantage. But Toyota Racing Development senior vice president Lee White told USA Today that Toyota's wind-tunnel tests demonstrated it provide as much as 170 extra pounds of downforce - significant given that total downforce is about 1,200 pounds.
"I think Toyota and Lee White are besieged by the fact that they've wasted a bunch of money for two years...and haven't gotten the results that they represented to their management that they were going to get on the track," Roush said.
"I'm going to treat Lee White and Toyota...like they were an ankle-biting Chihuahua and be done with it."
White, who worked with Roush in his road racing efforts years ago, later backed off his remarks.
"I don't know if the situation with the No. 99 car at Las Vegas was intentional," White said.
"I can't make that call. I drew the same circumstantial conclusion as others have. ...I will tell you categorically - Jack Roush doesn't cheat. He never has. I'm absolutely certain that he doesn't now or never will."