Kyle Larson without crew chief for Michigan
By AMANDA VINCENT
For the second-consecutive race weekend, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver will race without his regular crew chief because of a lug nut issue discovered post-race the previous race weekend. This time around, Chad Johnston, crew chief for Kyle Larson on the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet will be sidelined for Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn because of a lug nut issue Monday after the rain-delayed Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
Announcement of Johnston’s one-race suspension was a part of NASCAR’s weekly penalty/warning announcement, released on Wednesday. In its announcement, NASCAR cited violations of sections 12-1, 10.11.3.4 a and 188.8.131.52.1 p. Simply put, lug nuts were not properly installed on the No. 42, a determination made during post-race inspection at Pocono.
In addition to the suspension, Johnson also received a $20,000 fine and was placed on probation through the end of the year.
Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch and the No. 41 Stewart Haas Racing team, and Randall Burnett, crew chief on the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet team of A.J. Allmendinger, were sidelined for the Pocono race becauce of lug nut issues the previous race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Busch won at Pocono with a fill-in crew chief. Greg Biffle’s crew chief on the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team, Brian Pattie,still has one race remaining on a two-race suspension, so he’ll also be sidelined at Michigani, but his suspension isn’t related to a lug nut issue.
Meanwhile, six other Sprint Cup teams received written warnings from NASCAR because of inspection issues at Pocono. The No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet team of Regan Smith and the No. 83 BK Racing Toyota team of Matt DiBenedetto received warnings for twice failing pre-race laser inspection. The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team of Jamie McMurray was warned for twice failing pre-race template inspection. The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford team of Aric Amirola failed pre-qualifying laser inspection twice on June 3, and therefore, received a written warning. Also, the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team of Danica Patrick and the No. 85 Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet team of Ty Dillon received warnings for twice failing pre-qualifying template inspection.
The warning handed to the No. 7 team was that team’s fourth warning. NASCAR rules call for a penalty the following race weekend after a team receives its fourth warning. As a result, the No. 7 team will probably have to make its pit selection last at Michigan.