By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR dropped the proverbial hammer on Wednesday, announcing the suspensions of three Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs after Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Teams from Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing were issued the P3 penalties that included suspensions for at least one race.
Brian Pattie, crew chief on the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team of driver Greg Biffle was hardest hit, receiving a two-race suspension and a $50,000 fine. According to the weekly penalty report from NASCAR, multiple infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during post-race inspection at CMS. Those infractions included a body design that either didn’t comply with NASCAR specifications or wasn’t submitted to NASCAR for approval. In addition to penalties directly assessed to Pattie, the team lost 15 championship owner points and Biffle was docked 15 driver points. The two-race suspension sidelines Pattie for Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., and the June 12 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch on the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team, and Randall Burnett, crew chief on the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team of A.J. Allmendinger each were fined $20,000 and suspended for one race, sidelining them for Pocono. Their penalties come as a result of lug nut issues. They were in violation of a rule in the NASCAR rule book that states, “All tires and wheels and all five lug nuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the event.”
Gibson wasn’t the only SHR crew chief penalized coming out of the Coca-Cola 600. Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief on the No. 14 team of driver and Stewart-Haas co-owner Tony Stewart was placed on NASCAR probation for the remainder of the wheel because a crew member modified the body of the car after it went through pre-race inspection. Stewart also was penalized at the start of the race, with NASCAR mandating that he start the race in the back because of the illegal modification.
Also, according to the penalty report, the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team of Paul Menard received a written warning as a result of failing pre-qualifying template inspection three time. Because of repeated warning’s the team was docked 15 minutes of practice time for Sunday’s race at Pocono.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Matt Kenseth and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team of Aric Almirola received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection twice at Charlotte. Meanwhile, the No. 43 team, the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team of Jimmie Johnson twice failed pre-qualifying template inspection, also resulting in written warnings.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team of Ryan Reed and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team for which Denny Hamlin drove at Charlotte received written warnings for failing three times in pre-race inspections.
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