Newman takes hit to Chase hopes with NASCAR penalty, nothing for Custer, Nemechek

John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer cross the line at CTMP Saturday.(Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer cross the line at CTMP Saturday.(Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer cross the line at CTMP Saturday.(Getty Images)

If Ryan Newman wants to make this year’s Chase he will have to work just a bit harder. NASCAR issued a P3-level penalty to the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 team that included a 15-point penalty.

Newman finished eighth last Sunday at Darlington, but his Chevy failed post race inspection on the Laser Inspection Station (LIS) platform. Wednesday, NASCAR docked the team 15 points in the drivers and team owners standings. Crew chief was also Luke Lambert $25,000.

This was the second penalty for the 31 team. In March the team was penalized 10 points for using unapproved body attachment mounts and supports at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Lambert was then placed on NASCAR probation through the end of the year.

While still having a mathematical chance, Newman will now need to either win or overcome a 22-point deficit in Saturday night’s race at Richmond.

The Richard Childress Racing team later issued a statement indicating they will not appeal the penalty:

“We do not plan to appeal the penalty issued today to the No. 31 team. Our rear toe settings were well within specs during pre-race inspection. The car made contact with the outside wall during the race and there was clear damage to the right rear fender and tire. NASCAR has told us that the LIS standard is clear and the car must pass post-race inspection even if damage has been sustained.”

The No. 42 team of Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Kyle Larson was also penalized for failing the LIS at Darlington.  The team finished third Sunday, but was issued a P2 penalty. Larson was docked 15 points and crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $22,500.  Larson has a win and a 15th-place spot in the standings after Darlington; he is locked in for the Chase.

Driver Ryan Blaney’s attempt at a “Throwback” move during NASCAR’s Throwback weekend at Darlington got him a $1000 fine.  Blaney took several laps during the first practice on Saturday without his driving gloves.  The incident earned the rookie driver a P1 penalty for a safety equipment infraction.

Other warnings issued after last weekend’s events at Darlington:

In the Sprint Cup Series, the Nos. 2 and 19 teams received written warnings and the loss of 15 minutes of practice time for failing pre-race LIS three times.

The Nos. 22 and 32 teams were issued written warnings for failing pre-race LIS twice, and the No. 14 got a written warning for failing pre-race template inspection twice.

In XFINITY, the No. 01 team was issued a written warning for failing pre-race LIS twice.

And in the Camping World Truck Series, the Nos. 02 and 8 teams were issued written warnings for truck trailing arms not meeting rule specifications.

In a move that surprised some, officials issued no penalties for the final lap contact between drivers John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer at the end of the Camping World Truck race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park last Saturday.  Both trucks exited the final turn side by side and crossed the finish line together in the grass.  NASCAR officials ruled Nemechek the winner. Custer ran across the track and tackled Nemechek and the two had to be pulled apart.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.