NASCAR penalizes No. 45 23XI Racing Team after Darlington for added ballast

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 13: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #45 Forward Together Toyota, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 13, 2023 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR issued its weekly post-race penalty report after Darlington Raceway Tuesday. The biggest penalty was for the No. 45 team from 23XI Racing for violations found in Cup Series pre-qualifying inspection last weekend.

The report said the No. 45 team was found in violation of Section of the NASCAR Rule Book, which states that, “Any and all ballast added to the vehicle must be secured inside a ballast container(s). … Additional ballast containers will not be permitted to be added to the chassis.” As a result, competition officials docked the team 10 points in both the drivers and owners’ standings.

The team had lost pit-stall selection for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 after the infraction was discovered during Friday’s technical inspection at the 1.366-mile track, and crew chief Billy Scott was ejected for the remainder of the race weekend. 23XI Racing performance director Dave Rogers filled in for Scott, and Tyler Reddick raced to a 22nd-place finish in Sunday’s 400-miler, scored as the final driver on the lead lap. It marked two consecutive weeks that the No. 45 team failed pre-qualifying inspection twice.

Competition officials also issued suspensions for two crew members of the No. 43 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet team after a wheel dislodged during Sunday’s Cup Series race. Erik Jones was involved in a multicar crash when the No. 43 Chevy spun sideways at the start of the final stage, collecting eight other cars at the exit of Turn 2. The No. 43’s right-rear wheel came loose and rolled down the backstretch, and Jones was held in the pits for two laps. He finished 25th.

The infraction falls under the heading of Section — “Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.” The violation resulted in two-race suspensions each for No. 43 crew members Nate McBride (jack) and Adam Riley (rear tire changer).

Greg Engle