“I am 100 percent sure this is unintentional.” NASCAR said it believed a mechanic made a mistake when the shocks were installed before the race. Gordon’s was the sixth team in three days to be caught with technical violations. The earlier problems led to expulsions, suspensions, fines and loss of championship points – and the season hasn’t even begun. The most serious of the violations was committed by the new team of Michael Waltrip, whose Toyota failed inspection after an illegal substance was found in the gas line. His crew chief and team director were suspended indefinitely and kicked out of Daytona International Speedway. Waltrip was docked 100driver and car owner points. That was on the heels of lesser violations by the teams of Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, whose crew chiefs all were fined and suspended. All drivers also lost points. Just when it looked like racing would snatch the spotlight from the cheaters at Daytona, Jeff Gordon’s winning car failed inspection. Gordon, who won the second of Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races, now will start the Daytona 500 in 42nd place. NASCAR inspectors said his Chevrolet was almost an inch too low but blamed it on a part failure – not cheating. He was not stripped of the victory. “We feel it was unintentional, and actually fairly unsafe,” said NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton. “We feel that it was a part failure, and we feel that it was unintentionally done. I think it would be marginal at best if there was any advantage. Back in: Waltrip vindicated himself the only way he knew how: He drove his way into the Daytona 500. The two-time Daytona winner – almost too embarrassed to get behind the wheel after his team was caught in NASCAR’s biggest cheating scandal – capped a roller-coaster week Thursday by earning a spot in the Great American Race. “I know I am good enough to do it without having any cheating on my car,” he said. “I don’t need it. I can go fast without it. I think we proved that today.” Waltrip’s eighth-place finish in the first qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway was good enough to get him in the field. For all the hubbub about harsh punishments for cheaters this week, all five teams that were busted by NASCAR’s technical inspectors this week have a starting spot in Sunday’s race. Kenseth, Kahne, Riggs and Sadler were assured of a starting spot because their teams were in the top 35 in owner points lastseason. Kenseth finished fifth in the second qualifying race, but Kahne, Sadler and Riggs finished outside the top 15. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!