NASCAR issues four-race suspension to Kyle Busch’s crew chief for wheel coming off


NASCAR issued four-race suspensions each to Kyle Busch‘s crew chief, Adam Stevens, along with tire changer Jacob Seminara and tire carrier Kenneth Barber for a tire rolling off Busch’s car early in Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway.

They will miss races at Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma and Daytona. They’ll be eligible to return July 8 at Kentucky Speedway.

Joe Gibbs Racing stated it will not appeal the penalties. Engineer Ben Beshore will serve as acting crew chief for the No. 18 team in place of Stevens. Anwar Parrish will serve as the rear tire carrier, and Adam Hartman will serve as the rear tire changer.

NASCAR also issued the same penalty to Chase Briscoe‘s crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., along with tire changer Wesley McPherson and tire carrier Eric Pinkiert for a tire rolling off in the Camping World Truck race last weekend at Dover.

They will miss races at Texas, Gateway, Iowa and Kentucky. They’ll be eligible to return July 19 at Eldora Speedway.

Brad Keselowski Racing issued a statement: “We are disappointed in the penalty that Mike Hillman Jr. and members of our pit crew received following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in Dover. We are currently considering our options under the appeal process outlined in the NASCAR rulebook. Buddy Sisco will serve as Chase Briscoe’s crew chief in the interim.”

Kyle Busch’s pit crew did not attach the left rear wheel before Busch left his pit stall early in Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway. The wheel soon rolled off the car.

That incident happened two days after Brad Keselowski Racing’s team failed to properly attach the left front wheel on Chase Briscoe’s truck before he exited pit road. The wheel soon rolled off.

Section of the Cup and Truck rule books state: “Loss of wheel(s) due to improper installation will result in a mandatory minimum four Race suspension of the crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier of the lost wheel(s).’’

Section of both rule books also state that “safety violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.’’

The day after the wheel came off Briscoe’s truck at Dover, team owner Brad Keselowski said a four-race suspension to his crew chief, tire changer and tire carrier would be severe and sought a lesser penalty.

“I think when it comes to issues like this, I try to always step back and see it from a bigger picture and I hope NASCAR does as well,” Keselowski said. “At the end of the day intent matters. The intent of the rule was to make sure guys don’t put three lug nuts on and have a wheel come off and say, ‘Awe, too bad’.

“That isn’t what happened in the scenario we had. So I think the rule’s intent maybe covers something that didn’t happen. It was a mistake. And we discussed those scenarios. It’s the difference between murder and manslaughter. Intent matters. Certainly, we’re glad that nobody got hurt or there wasn’t any of those types of issues. It doesn’t excuse that kind of stuff. It’s tough scenario for me personally because as an owner over there, we somewhat pride ourselves in not using Cup driver and Cup pit crews and all those things.

“What I’m looking for out of that endeavor and that series is to develop people and give back to the sport. It’s not really giving back to the sport if I put a Cup driver in or hire a Cup pit crew. That’s really not giving back to the sport at all. But on the flip side when you have issues like we had, which is a pit crew that is still developing and inexperienced … they made a mistake. When you have an issue like that which endorses a penalty, that is as costly as that one is according to the current rule, you have to step back and ask yourself, ‘If I had a Cup pit crew, would that have happened?’ And the answer is probably ‘No’.

“So I think the penalties in those series have to be reflective of what they are, they’re developmental series. That was a developmental issue. A guy who really learned a tough lesson. If the penalty is very severe, very harsh, that’s the end of developmental pit crews for my team. We can’t take that. We can’t afford that and that will have serious ramifications for the series and the ability to develop people. It’s a tough question. It’s a tough box that NASCAR is put in to try and enforce rules that are pretty much black and white. They have a tough call to make that will have serious ramifications both in the series we compete and but also as a precedent for all three series.”

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Denny Hamlin showing ‘remarkable consistency’

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Things have been going relatively well for Denny Hamlin on the track in 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway sixth in points. Through five races, he’s finished outside the top six once (17th, Las Vegas).

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan discussed his season so far in addition to Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Letarte said Hamlin has displayed “remarkable consistency.”

“Denny Hamlin is in my mind a super star driver that I know I am guilty of leaving him out of super star conversations,” Letarte said.

Ryan pointed to mistakes on pit road that have prevented Hamlin from enjoying more success this season and in his career overall. His result at Las Vegas was the result of a speeding penalty.

“Five races this season, four pit mistakes,” Ryan said. “He overshot his box at Daytona, he did that at Fontana, he sped in the pits at Phoenix. While I think they’ve had speed, I think that team is still stumbling in the same ways it has in the past. Unless they correct that, I don’t know if they’re championship level yet.”

Hamlin heads to Martinsville where he has won a career-best five races.

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Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

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Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

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NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Drivers to watch, favorite sports upsets

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to look forward to this weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan from the “Big Oak Table” in Charlotte.

What to expect from today’s show.

  • The same names have been dominating the headlines in the first five races in the 2018 season. We will take a look at some of the other drivers to be on the lookout for as the season rolls on.
  • One of NASCAR’s most historic tracks is up this weekend – Martinsville! We’ll check out some of the recent drama “The Paperclip” has provided ahead of the race.
  • In the spirit of March Madness, our panel will tell us about their most memorable sports moments, as well as some of NASCAR’s biggest upsets.
  • Plus, The Indianapolis 500 will have a new home in 2019. We’ll have all the details on NASCAR America.

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.