NASCAR suspends Cup crew chief for Pocono infraction

Kyle Larson finished 14th Monday.
Kyle Larson finished 14th Monday.
Kyle Larson finished 11th Monday.

Another week, another NASCAR suspension.  NASCAR issued its weekly penalty report Wednesday following the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 at Pocono Raceway and a P3 penalty was issued to the No. 42 team fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The penalty was for lug nuts not properly installed during post-race inspection.

As a result of the penalty crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $20,000 and suspended for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, and has been placed on NASCAR probation through end of the year. The violation fell under Sections 12-1; a of the NASCAR Rule Book, which 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.” The NASCAR penalty scale ranges from P1 to P6 with P6 the most serious.

A week prior teams belonging to the Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, the Chevy of Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch and the Chevy of JTG Daugherty Racing, AJ Allmendinger teams, were all hit with P3 punishments. The Crew chiefs for Allmendinger (Randall Burnett) and Busch (Tony Gibson) were each fined $20,000 and suspended for points races through June 8.  Busch won Monday’s rescheduled Pocono race with interim crew chief and team engineer John Klausmeier. Earlier in the season NASCAR began cracking down on the practice of teams not using all five lug nuts on tires in order to save time on pit road.

Larson won the rain shortened XFINITY series race on Saturday.  He started 14th and finished 11th Monday.