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Cole Custer Crew Chief Suspended Indefinitely for ROVAL Actions, Custer Fined

Cole Custer‘s crew chief Michael Shiplett has been indefinitely suspended following the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, NASCAR announced Oct. 11.

Custer and the team were penalized under section 5.5of NASCAR’s rule book. That passage speaks to drivers being required to race at 100% of all times and to refrain from artificially altering the finishing positions of a race.

Custer and Shiplett have also been fined $100,000 each, with the No. 41 team being docked both 50 owner and driver points as a result of the penalty.

The infraction comes as a result of Custer seemingly blocking other cars on track for his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe on the last lap of the ROVAL race. Briscoe was in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs and was tied with Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson for the final transfer position at the end of the race.

See also
5 Points to Ponder: Cole Custer Is the Teammate Everyone Wants

“We had the crew chief telling the driver, ‘I think you’ve got a flat. Check up. Check up,’ when he couldn’t even see the car or have any idea whatsoever that the car might have a flat,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller stated. “Obviously, pretty telling as to what went on there. That, coupled with the data and the video … nothing contradicted the fact that that was done deliberately. We were certainly forced to react.

“We can’t have teams manipulating the finishing order.”

Larson was eventually eliminated from the postseason championship hunt while Briscoe passed enough cars to qualify into the next round by a margin of two points.

“Had this been the determining factor in the No. 14 making it into the Round of 8 or not, our reaction would have been bigger,” Miller said. “The No. 14 qualified without this, but had it not been the case and the No. 14 would have gotten into the playoffs, we would have had to react in an even stronger fashion.”

NASCAR has not said it will alter the Round of 8 roster in any way, leaving Briscoe still in the playoffs.

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Landon Cassill‘s Kaulig Racing team has also been penalized for a loose lug nut at the end of the series’ ROVAL race. Crew chief Alex Yontz has been fined $5,000.

About the author

Dalton Hopkins began writing for Frontstretch in April 2021. Currently, he is the lead writer for the weekly Thinkin' Out Loud column and one of our lead reporters. Beforehand, he wrote for IMSA shortly after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Simultaneously, he also serves as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.

Follow Dalton on Twitter @PitLaneLT

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How is this any different than what Elliott did at Bristol with Harvick last year ….And yet nothing was said about it then

Kevin in SoCal

Because Elliott is the most popular driver and has favored status.


Doesn’t hurt that he also drives for NASCAR’s God, Rick Hendrick.


Or Ross Chastain with Kurt Busch…
The list goes on. Penalty wasnt warranted here, they literally forced this type of racing by putting out this format.

Bill B

Yep. There are just too many ways to screw with points and affect the outcome of who makes it and who doesn’t.


hendricknascar chevy awards banquet funded and paid for by SHR this year !


Custer did interfere with the finishing order of the race. It was the last lap. Wonder what all HMS is saying to nascar behind closed doors, plenty I’m guessing. Those 2 points means a lot more money.

Kevin in SoCal

Without the two points, and a tie, Briscoe still beats Larson on the tie-breaker.


Lee Spencer reporting Tyler Reddick contract bought out from Childress. Reddick drives for Hamlin next year.


Why not put Kyle Larson back into the Chase, like NASCAR did with Jeff Gordon after Bowyer’s “spin” at Richmond – seems fair?


Freaking NASCAR!!! Their pick and choose actions really undermine what little
“integrity” they have left.


No kidding, indefinitely? Especially considering this hasnt been penalized in the past when its been clear and obvious what took place. I’m not a Ford fan, I’m not a SHR fan, but seeing this type of penalty boiled my blood. Especially since so many have gotten away with it since spin gate.


In 2013 NASCAR penalized all 3 Waltrip Racing cars following Bowyer’s spin to help Truex. Now they only penalize 1 car out of the SHR organization.They can’t even follow their own example.


Perhaps Cole Custer is just adding to his resume for a job at Fox Sports. Seems to have helped a few others gain employment.

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