NASCAR suspends Kyle Busch’s crew chief for violating revised lug nut rules

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In the first punishment stemming from a revised rule requiring five lug nuts on every wheel, crew chief Adam Stevens, who guided Kyle Busch to a victory Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, was suspended for a race Wednesday.

Stevens also was fined $20,000 and will miss this weekend’s events at Dover International Speedway along with front-tire changer Josh Leslie, who also was suspended for a Sprint Cup race. Stevens and Leslie were placed on probation through Dec. 31.

Their suspensions run through May 18, meaning both will return for the Sprint All-Star Race.

In a penalty report, NASCAR said the infractions committed by Stevens and Leslie fell under:

–Section 10.11.3.4 – WHEELS & TIRES: All tires, wheels, and all five lug nuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the event.

–Section 12.5.3.4.1 g, o – P3 PENALTY VIOLATION EXAMPLES: Parts that are designed to fail their intended use; Parts or system configurations of importance not meeting the NASCAR rules, but not of a nature rising to a higher level penalty.

In an interview with NBC Sports, Sprint Cup director Richard Buck declined to say which of Busch’s wheels violated the rule or whether it had five lug nuts. Buck cited a potential appeal by Joe Gibbs Racing as the reason why he declined to elaborate.

There was no immediate word from JGR on whether the team would appeal Busch’s penalty.

NASCAR changed its policy on lug nuts before the May 1 race at Talladega Superspeedway, requiring that five lug nuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner. There were no problems found with lug nuts after the race at Talladega.

The revision of the rule occurred after Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and others had criticized NASCAR’s decision to stop enforcing lug nut rules before last season when pit road officiating was revamped. Stewart was fined $35,000 for his comments.