NASCAR Issues Several Penalties After Dover Race Weekend
NASCAR's penalty report after the Dover International Speedway race weekend that culminated in the AAA Drive for Autism 400 was a lengthy one.
NASCAR lowered the hammer on several race teams following the May 4 through May 6 race weekend that included races for all three of its national series—Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck series—at Dover International Speedway in Delaware. Penalties included suspensions for four car chiefs, a crew chief, and a team member, in addition to fines and a team losing some of the benefits of a race win.
In the Cup Series, the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Daniel Suarez, and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Clint Bowyer, were penalized for problems with the rear-window area of their cars. Suarez’s car chief Todd Brewer was suspended for two points-paying races, and crew chief Scott Graves was fined $50,000 because the rear window of the No. 19 was not flush to the car’s rear deck lid.
Suarez and the team lost 20 championship driver and owner points, respectively. Bowyer’s car chief Jerry Cook was suspended from the next two points races, and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz was fined $50,000 because the rear window support braces on their car did not keep the rear window glass rigid in all directions. Like Suarez and his team, Bowyer and his team also lost 20 points.
The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team of Austin Dillon in the Cup Series was penalized because the splitter on the car was not within NASCAR specifications. Car chief Greg Ebert was suspended for one points-paying race, and crew chief Justin Alexander was fined $25,000.
One more Cup Series team was penalized. Billy Scott, the crew chief on the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Kurt Busch, was fined $10,000 because the lug nuts were not adequately tight at the end of the race.
Two Xfinity Series teams also suffered suspensions. Jason Burdett, crew chief on the race-winning No. 7 JR Motorsports team of Justin Allgaier, was suspended for the next two Xfinity races and fined $25,000 because the truck trailing arm spacers/pinion angle shims weren’t in complete contact with their mating surface. Allgaier and JRM were docked 25 points, and Allgaier lost the playoff benefits of the win. He will not be allowed to use the win to get himself into the postseason playoffs. And if he makes the playoffs another way, he will not receive playoff points for his Dover win.
In a statement released by the race team, JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller blamed the issues of the No. 7 team on damage from contact with teammate Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 1 JRM entry, on the final lap of the race.
“As a highly-competitive race team that challenges for wins each and every weekend, we’re deeply disappointed and frustrated in today’s ruling,” Earnhardt Miller said. "We strive to produce race victories for JR Motorsports’ partners, fans, and employees while adhering to the rulebook. To that end, the No. 7 team put on a winning performance in Saturday’s race and received damage on the last lap that we believe contributed to this infraction. We will never fault ourselves for that.”
Michael Scearce, car chief on the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team that had Jeb Burton as its driver in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, was suspended for one race. Nick Harrison, the team’s crew chief, was fined $10,000 for a splitter that didn’t meet specifications.
Former JP Motorsports team member in the Xfinity Series, Michael Hayden, was indefinitely suspended for a behavioral rules violation. Hayden struck JP Motorsports co-owner Jerry Hattaway, breaking Hattaway’s jaw. Hayden was also arrested for the incident and released on a $500 bond.
Only one penalty was issued in the Camping World Truck Series. Wes Ward, crew chief on the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports team of Todd Gilliland, was fined $2,500 because the truck had a lug nut either loose or missing (NASCAR didn't specify) after the May 4 Truck Series race.