Race Weekend Central

Chip Ganassi Labels NASCAR’s Lug Nut Policy “Silly”

With the one-race suspension of team crew chief Chad Johnston, Chip Ganassi, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates said that the “whole lug nut thing is a silly thing” while calling into SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday evening.

His remarks came hours after NASCAR suspended Johnston, a veteran crew chief, for lug nuts that weren’t properly secure on Kyle Larson‘s No. 42 car following the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at Pocono Raceway on Monday.

“I just think the whole lug nut thing is a silly thing,’’ Ganassi said in his interview. “We’re in a major sport that on any given weekend we have over 100,000 people that show up and watch and it’s the most-watched sport on television sometimes on the weekend and we’re sitting here talking about lug nuts. Are you kidding me? Please.”

Johnston is the next guy in line of crew chief who have been suspended in the last few weeks regarding the new lug not policy. At Pocono Tony Gibson was suspended, but his driver, Kurt Busch, solidified his Chase hopes by winning the race with team engineer Johnny Klausmeier.

AJ Allmendinger had to work with veteran XFINITY Series crew chief Ernie Cope since Randall Burnett was caught breaking the rules and the same went for Greg Biffle as he had to work with long-time Roush Fenway Racing employee Robby Reiser, replacing Brian Pattie. Johnston is the fourth crew chief in the last two weeks to be suspended under the lug nut policy.

“We have qualified people that will be there,’’ Ganassi said of Johnston’s replacement. “That’s the other thing is these suspensions, you can have the guy on the phone, you can have him on the computer, but he can’t be at the track. What’s the point of being suspended? You really could probably suspend everybody on the team except the pit crew. It’s silliness. It’s complete silliness.’

“Everybody in the garage is sort of — I don’t want to say ‘up in arms’ — but confused about the whole thing. I just think it’s kind of silly. There’s lots of smart people that have great answers for these kind of things…I just want the playing field to be level among all teams. As long as that happens, I’m ok.”


About the author

Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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