NASCAR issues penalties after Darlington; crew chief suspended

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 17: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 ChevyGoods.com NOCO Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light YOURFACEHERE Ford, lead during the NASCAR Cup Series The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 17, 2020 in Darlington, South Carolina. NASCAR resumes the season after the nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Monday NASCAR issued penalties for lug-nut violations after Sunday’s Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway, including a one-race suspension for Chris Gayle, crew chief of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team.

The No. 20 Toyota was found with two lug nuts not safely secured in a post-race check after Erik Jones drove the car to an eighth-place finish in The Real Heroes 400 at the 1.366-mile track. Monday, NASCAR officials fined Gayle $20,000 and suspended him for the next points-paying Cup Series event, scheduled Wednesday at Darlington.

Shortly after the penalties were announced, an update to the entry list showed that race engineer Seth Chavka would replace Gayle on the No. 20 team’s pit box for Wednesday’s Toyota 500.

Five other Cup Series teams were found with one unsecured lug nut each after Sunday’s 400-miler. Crew chiefs for those teams were each fined $10,000 for the safety violation of Section 10.9.10.4 in the 2020 NASCAR Rule Book.

The other teams (and crew chiefs) penalized:

• No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for race winner Kevin Harvick (crew chief Rodney Childers)
• No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for Denny Hamlin (crew chief Chris Gabehart)
• No. 22 Team Penske Ford for Joey Logano (crew chief Paul Wolfe)
• No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet for Matt Kenseth (crew chief Chad Johnston)
• No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota for Christopher Bell (crew chief Jason Ratcliff)