The list of NASCAR teams hit with major penalties Wednesday included one of the four Sprint Cup title contenders. The No. 18 Toyota team of Kyle Busch was found to have lug nuts not properly installed at the conclusion of the Phoenix event. His crew chief Adam Stevens will be fined $10,000 but will still be on top of the pit box for Sunday’s season finale as his group attempts to win back-to-back series titles.
NASCAR XFINITY competitor Elliott Sadler wishes he could be so lucky. After post-race inspection revealed a similar lug nut issue as Busch, the team was issued a P3 penalty as it was their second straight offense. That means crew chief Kevin Meendering was not only fined $10,000 but will be suspended for Saturday’s series finale.
As this penalty was expected, a replacement has already been announced by JR Motorsports. Mike Bumgarner, the race operations manager for the team, will perform fill-in duty on the No. 1 Chevrolet as Sadler tries to secure his first XFINITY title.
Other penalties discovered were minor. Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 machine was subject to two infractions at Phoenix. The Roger Penske-owned Miller Lite Ford failed pre-race laser inspection station three times, resulting in a 15-minute penalty during this weekend’s practice for the Ford 400 at Homestead. The team’s second infraction, failing template inspection twice prior to the race, garnered them a written warning.
Others who suffered laser inspection issues at Phoenix included Championship 4 contender Joey Logano. He joined Chase Elliott and Reed Sorenson’s teams along with the No. 10 of Danica Patrick, Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 driven by Martin Truex, Jr., and the No. 95 of Michael McDowell. These all resulted in written warnings.
On the XFINITY side, Ty Dillon, DJ Kennington, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Brandon Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s team all suffered through pre-race laser inspection failures. All were handed written warnings by NASCAR, slaps on the wrist that will mean little with the season wrapping up in just a few short days.
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