NASCAR executive says points penalty to Martin Truex Jr.’s team ‘would be unlikely’

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — A NASCAR executive says that it would be “unlikely’’ that Martin Truex Jr.’s team faces a points penalty for an improper left front jackscrew but added that officials will “go through our process.’’

Scott Miller, NASCAR vice president of competition, discussed the issue with Truex’s team and with three Joe Gibbs Racing cars Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR confiscated the left front jackscrew from Truex’s car in inspection before qualifying. Crew chief Cole Pearn said the team mistakenly used the wrong jackscrew, noting the other corners of the car were correct.

Truex won the pole for Sunday’s race.

Asked about a possible points penalty to Truex’s team, Miller said: “I would say it would be unlikely but it has to go through our process. We don’t typically do that on a weekend. Because it is the playoffs, everyone has a heightened sense of everything. This is no different than things we have done all year, and we will treat this one like we do all year long.’’

Sunday’s race will trim the Chase field from 12 to eight. Although NASCAR typically does not determine penalties until later in the week, questions could remain on who the eight title contenders are if Truex leaves Talladega with a small margin over the first car that fails to advance.

So could NASCAR complete its “process” before the race begins?

“We don’t have any precedent for doing that,’’ Miller said. “We will be circling up and trying to figure out the best way to proceed from this moment forward until (Sunday’s) race.’’

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota, goes through inspection during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth‘s car goes through inspection during qualifying for the Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Miller also said that the cars of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth had to go back to the garage before making their qualifying attempt because the right-rear quarter panels “appeared to have been messed with around the deck lid.’’

Miller said the infraction “wasn’t big, it never is. Again, we pride ourselves in doing a good job. It doesn’t have to be big to be an infraction. It just has to be fair for everybody and that’s what we strive to do.’’

In need of a wedding singer? Call Steven Tyler

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05:  Singer Steven Tyler performs during his "Out on a Limb" tour at the Dolby Theatre on July 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA)
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA
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Steven Tyler has performed with Aerosmith in a video for ESPN back when it broadcast NASCAR races. Tyler also has performed before the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, he’s played Kurt Busch‘s wedding.

What more is left for the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer?

Tyler performed at a celebration for the marriage of Kurt and Ashley Busch earlier this month. Kurt Busch posted a photo of the evening.

That NASCAR-themed video Tyler did with Aerosmith for the 2007 season? Here it is:

Before he performed at Bristol in Aug. 2015, Tyler met Richard Petty:

Chip Ganassi Racing adds competition director

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Team owner Chip Ganassi looks on as drivers perpare on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Mark McArdle to be its competition director, a new position for the organization.

McArlde will oversee the team’s two Cup teams — Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray — and its Xfinity operation, which features Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Justin Marks and Larson.

McArdle had been with Roush Fenway Racing. He joined the team in Nov. 2014 to oversee engineering for its Cup and Xfinity programs. He previously had been director of racing operations at Richard Childress Racing, joining that organization in April 2013. He spent four years before that at Furniture Row Racing, overseeing the team’s competition department.

At Ganassi, McArdle will report to Max Jones, team manager.

Last year marked the first time in the team’s history that it had two cars make the Cup playoffs. Both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, though, failed to advance from the first round. Larson, who had one win, finished ninth in the points. McMurray, who was winless, placed 13th.

“I think everybody in the building feels like we took a good step forward last year,’’ said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re not happy with the step we took. We have more to do. So, being able to bring more of the leadership into the building that can focus on how we get there, the process that we need, we continue to bring on more people.

“I think Max feels like another person can help us make sure that everybody is focused on the right thing and we’re not wasting time and resources. Mark brings a tremendous amount of expertise to continue that growth that we’ve seen.’’

JR Motorsports to keep championship-contending tandem together

SPARTA, KY - JULY 07:  Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 OneMain Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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JR Motorsports confirmed Tuesday that crew chief Kevin Meendering will remain with Elliott Sadler this season.

Meendering and Sadler recorded three Xfinity wins last year in their first season together. Meendering also helped Sadler score a career-best 29 top-10 results and finish runner-up for the series title to Daniel Suarez.

The announcement was included in a team release about Hunt Brothers Pizza serving as the primary sponsor for Sadler’s car in two races in each of the next two seasons.

Wood Brothers give a tour of new race shop

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15:  Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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The Wood Brothers begin this season not only with a charter but with a new home.

The team had shared a building with JTG Daugherty in Harrisburg, North Carolina, but moved after last season to a shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. The move puts the Wood Brothers closer to Team Penske. The two organizations are aligned.

The Wood Brothers will again have Ryan Blaney as driver. The team also has a charter, leasing it from Go Fas Racing. That means the Wood Brothers team is guaranteed a starting spot in every Cup race this year, unlike last year when they did not have a charter.