Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Penalizes Nearly Two Dozen Teams in Texas

On Wednesday, NASCAR released the weekly penalty report stemming from Texas.  Compared to recent weeks, this one was quite the doozy.

In the Sprint Cup Series, Joey Logano‘s No. 22 Ford that finished second Sunday night was found to have one loose lugnut.  As a result, the No. 22 has been hit with a P2 penalty and crew chief Todd Gordon has been fined $10,000.

You may remember that a number of teams had trouble getting out to pit road before the start of qualifying on Friday.  That is because ten separate teams flunked the templates at least twice.  Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 for Denny Hamlin, No. 18 for Kyle Busch and No. 20 for Matt Kenseth, along with Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 for Trevor Bayne, Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 for Kurt Busch and BK Racing’s No. 83 for Matt DiBenedetto (prior to him being placed in the concussion protocol) all failed the templates twice and earned warnings.  Hamlin and Bayne’s teams both received their fourth warnings as a result of this failure and lost their pit selection.  They took those penalties in Texas.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 for Kevin Harvick and No. 14 for Tony Stewart, along with Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 for Carl Edwards and Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 for Martin Truex, Jr. all failed the templates three times prior to qualifying.  All these teams have been warned and will miss 15 minutes of practice this weekend in Phoenix.

Three more teams failed the laser inspection prior to qualifying.  Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 for pole-sitter Austin Dillon and Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 16 for Greg Biffle failed the laser twice and earned warnings.  Biffle’s No. 16 earned its fourth warning as a result and lost their pit selection for Texas.  JTG-Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 for AJ Allmendinger failed the laser inspection three times.  As a result, the No. 47 team got warned and Allmendinger will miss 15 minutes of practice in Phoenix.

The No. 3 team got their second warning of the weekend Sunday morning when they failed the laser inspection twice more to make four for the weekend.  They were joined by BK Racing’s No. 23 for David Ragan.

In the XFINITY Series, encumbered finishes came into play for the first time.  Both Richard Childress Racing’s No. 62 for Brendan Gaughan and JR Motorsports’ No. 88 for Harvick failed post-race inspection due to being too low in the rear.  As a result, both were penalized with $10,000 fines for their respective crew chiefs (Shane Wilson and Dave Elenz), a ten-point driver’s point penalty for Gaughan, and a ten point penalty in the owners’ points for both cars.  Had either Harvick or Gaughan actually won Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, NASCAR would not have allowed either driver to use the benefits of the victory towards advancing in the Chase.

JR Motorsports was notified of the penalties ahead of time and chose to appeal.  A three-member panel consisting of Lake Speed, Bowman-Gray Speedway operator Dale Pinilis and Greenville-Pickens Speedway owner Kevin Whitaker heard the appeal on Tuesday and upheld the penalties.

Elliott Sadler‘s No. 1 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports was found to have a loose lugnut after Saturday’s race.  As a result, crew chief Kevin Meendering has been fined $5,000.

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 for Ty Dillon and Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 of Erik Jones failed the template inspection thrice prior to the race on Saturday, earning warnings.  JGR’s No. 18 for Matt Tifft failed the template inspection four times, earning a warning and a loss of 15 minutes of practice time at Phoenix for Kyle Busch.

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 for Austin Dillon and Harvick’s No. 88 failed the laser inspection twice before the race on Saturday.  Both teams were given warnings for that.

Finally, two crewmembers, Michael S. Rathje and Michael L. Hubert, were suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.  These suspensions stem from violations of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy.  Rathje’s violation occurred on Thursday, while Hubert violated the policy on Monday.


About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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What would the penalty have been if Logano had won with the lug nut violation? It probably would have been different than a Hendrick car or one of Father Joe’s cars.

I didn’t think Harvick was eligible for the “Busch” series chase.

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