NASCAR suspends Harvick crew chief for lugnut violation

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

NASCAR issued its weekly penalty report Wednesday and for the first time in nearly a month a Cup series crew chief has been suspended for a lugnut violation.

Rodney Childers, crew chief of Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, has been fined $20,000 and suspended through this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway after the No. 4 team was assessed a P3 penalty following last weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR said the penalty fell under section 12.1; section, lug nuts not properly installed.

NASCAR began cracking down on missing lug nuts earlier this season after teams had tried to use fewer than five to gain an advantage during pit stops.  Chad Johnston, crew chief for Kyle Larson, was suspended for the June race at Michigan for a lug nut violation at the June Pocono race.  Kyle Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens received a suspension for the Dover race in May after his winning car at Kansas was found in violation.  Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch, and Randall Burnett missed the June Pocono race for lug nut violations at Charlotte.  Kurt Busch won that June race at Pocono.

Childers seemed to sense earlier in the season that he might fall victim to the penalty. In Aprils he tweeted that “I will set at home for a week at some point”.

Other penalties assessed following the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway were written warnings for twice failing laser inspections pre-race to: No. 5 team of Kasey Kahne (first warning), No. 27 team of Paul Menard (third warning) and No. 83 team of Matt DiBenedetto (fourth warning).

Written warnings also were given to the No. 41 team of Kurt Busch (second warning) and the No. 43 team of Aric Almirola (second warning) for failing template inspection twice, pre-qualifying.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the No. 22 team of Austin Wayne Self received a writing warning (third warning) on opening day inspection at Eldora for truck trailing arms not meeting specifications.