NASCAR Penalizes Two Teams for Losing Wheels During Daytona 500; No Action on Confiscated Wheels

The two Cup Series teams who cars lost wheels during last Sunday’s Daytona 500 were penalized by NASCAR Wednesday. Two other teams who had tires confiscated last Friday were vindicated.

The No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, driven by Justin Haley, and the No. 50 The Money Team Racing Chevrolet, driven by Kaz Grala both lost wheels during the 500 something considered severe safety issues.

As a result of the safety violations by both teams, there were several suspensions announced. For the No. 31 team, crew chief Trent Owens and crew members Jacob Nelson (front changer) and Marshall McFadden (jackman) will miss the next four championship points events. And for the No. 50 team, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and crew members Chris Zima (jackman) and Aaron Powell (rear changer) will miss the next four championship events.

The penalties to the cars that lost wheels were referenced under Sections 10.5.2.6 of the NASCAR Rule Book: Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle with the note: Loss of tire/wheel during the event.

Grala went on to finish in 26th place in the Daytona 500, while Haley finished 23rd. The Cup Series is back on track this weekend at Auto Club Speedway for Sunday’s Wise Power 400.

Last Friday NASCAR confiscated wheels from Team Penske and RFK Racing at Daytona.

Penske driver Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500, and team owner Roger Penske addressed the tire confiscation in his post-race press conference.

“I think that we had contacted NASCAR a week before and said that the wheels we were getting were not all the same, and we felt we needed to modify the holes where the drive pins go,” Penske said.

“We didn’t really get any feedback, and at that point we went ahead and opened the holes up. In fact, when you look at it, they’re much bigger than they would have been — smaller, excuse me, than we had either on INDYCAR or on sports car.

“I just think there was so much going on and trying to get the communication back and forth — we certainly talked about it with them. This wasn’t something we did under the covers trying to beat anybody. It was right there.”

Wednesday NASCAR indicated they would issue further penalties to Team Penske and RFK Racing and released a statement:

“NASCAR met with Next Gen suppliers and several race teams this week to discuss wheel specifications. Following that discussion, NASCAR made small adjustments to increase the upper tolerance on pin and pilot bores for Fontana. NASCAR will reevaluate with suppliers and race teams and determine a path forward following this weekend’s race.”

Daytona 500 winning crew chief Jeremy Bullins said Sunday night that he was confident the teams and NASCAR would find a resolution.

“I feel confident that NASCAR will work with the teams to find a solution when we run across problems, absolutely I do,” Bullins said. “I think if you look at where the Next-Gen car was in testing during the year at points last year, we had a lot of work in front of us.

“I think if you look at some of those tests towards the end of the year, there was a lot of effort and collaboration between NASCAR and the teams to find the best solution to try to produce the best racing we can because that’s what’s important for the sport.

“I think when we put the sport first, we’re able to work together and find good solutions, and I think yes, I think we will do that.”