Kevin Harvick will race at Pocono Raceway without Rodney Childers, who became the fifth Sprint Cup crew chief suspended for a lug nut violation
NASCAR announced a one-race suspension Wednesday for Childers after Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet was found with a loose lugnut that ran afoul of a new lug nut policy that was implemented in late April. Since the May 1 race at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR has checked all cars in postrace to ensure that five lug nuts properly are installed on every wheel.
Childers and his team were leveled with a P3 penalty for violating “Section 12.1; Section 10.11.3.4 Notes: Lug Nut(s) not properly installed.” Though Harvick’s car had all of its lug nuts present, NASCAR ruled one wasn’t installed in “a safe and secure” manner.
Childers also was fined $20,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31.
Stewart-Haas Racing won’t appeal the penalty. Dax Gerringer, the race engineer for Harvick, will serve as the interim crew chief at Pocono with SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli on hand to assist.
In a tweet reacting to the penalty, Childers made a playful reference to Matt Kenseth‘s team receiving a 15-point penalty (but no crew chief suspension) for failing the laser inspection station after winning at New Hampshire.
In an April 25 tweet, Childers had predicted he would get dinged by the new rule on the day it was announced.
Childers is the first crew chief in NASAR’s premier series to be suspended in more than a month. Chad Johnston, crew chief for Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevy, was suspended for the June 12 race at Michigan because of a missing lug nut after Pocono.
Adam Stevens, crew chief for Kyle Busch, was the first to be penalized under the new rule, missing the May 15 race at Dover International Speedway after NASCAR ruled that Busch’s winning Toyota at Kansas Speedway was in violation.
With engineer Johnny Klausmeier filling in for Gibson, Busch won the most recent race at Pocono, where the circuit will return Sunday for its second annual visit.