NASCAR: several penalties handed down after Texas
Joey Logano (left) and crew chief Todd Gordon (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR’s weekly penalty/warning report, released on Wednesday, for penalties and warnings as a result of issue during the Nov. 3-6 race weekend that culminated in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth listed several penalties, including fines, suspensions and points deductions.
Crew members Michael S. Rathje and Michael L. Hubert were indefinitely suspended for violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. Rathje is listed as an employee of MBM Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, while Hubert is listed as the rear tire changer on the No. 23 BK Racing Toyota team of driver David Ragan in the Sprint Cup Series.
Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano on the No. 22 Team Penske Ford team in the Sprint Cup Series was fined 10,000, because the No. 22 car didn’t have all 20 lug nuts properly secured at the end of Sunday’s race.
Three Xfinity Series crew chiefs also were fined. Shane Wilson, crew chief on the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team of Brendan Gaughan, and Dave Elenz, crew chief on the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team that had Kevin Harvick as its driver at Texas on Satruday, were both fined $10,000. Kevin Meendering, crew chief on the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team of Elliott Sadler, was fined $5000.
Meendering’s fine was the result of the No. 1 car not having all 20 lug nuts properly installed and secured at the end of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas on Saturday.
The fines weren’t the only penalties for for the No. 62 and No. 88 teams. In addition to the $10,000 fines, each team was docked 10 car owner points, and in the case of the No. 62 team, Gaughan also lost 10 driver points. Harvick does not collect driver points in the Xfinity Series, so the driver points deduction did not apply to that team. Both teams were penalized, because of incorrect ground clearance and/or body-height measurements in post-race inspection.
Gaughan is one of the remaining eight chase drivers in the Xfinity Series. He already was last among the eight, points-wise, before the penalty. The 10-point deduction increases his deficit from fourth, the final advancing position after the Nov. 12 race at Phoenix International Raceway, from 23 points to 33 points.
In addition to the aforementioned penalties, several written warnings were handed out as a result of inspection issues for several Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series teams. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team of Kevin Harvick, the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet team of Tony Stewart, the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team of Carl Edwards and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota team of Martin Truex Jr. received written warnings and were docked 15 minutes of practice time for failing pre-qualifying template inspection three times. The No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Chevrolet team of A.J. Allmendinger also received a written warning and lost 15 minutes of practice time for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection three times.
The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team of Austin Dillon and Ragan’s No. 23 BK Racing Toyota team received written warnings for twice failing pre-race laser inspection. The No. 3 team received an additional written warning for also twice-failing pre-qualifying laser inspection. The No. 3 team wasn’t the only one to twice-fail pre-qualifying laser inspection. The No. 16 team received the same written warning. For the No. 16 team, though, it was a fourth written warning, resulting in a loss in pit road selection. That penalty was served during the Texas race weekend.
Six teams received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying template inspection twice — the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford team of Trevor Bayne, the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team of Denny Hamlin, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team of Kyle Busch, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team of Matt Kenseth, the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team of Kurt Busch and the No. 83 BK Racing Toyota team that normally has Matt DiBenedetto as driver, but for which Jeffrey Earnhardt drove at TMS. The warnings were fourth warnings for the Nos. 6 and 11 teams, resulting in the lost of pit selection. Those penalties were paid at Texas.
In the Xfinity Series, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team that had Matt Tifft as driver at Texas failed pre-race template inspection four times. As a result, the team received a written warning and was docked 15 minutes of practice time. The practice-deduction penalty is expected to be handed down during the Phoenix race weekend.
No penalties or warnings were assessed to Camping World Truck Series teams during the Texas Motor Speedway race weekend.