Aric Almirola crew chief suspended three points races for failed laser inspection

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NASCAR on Wednesday announced the three-race suspension of Richard Petty Motorsports crew chief Drew Blickensderfer after the No. 43 “failed the post-race rear wheel steer” portion of the laser inspection Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Scott McDougall, the team’s director of engineering, will serve as interim crew chief this weekend at Kansas Speedway, in the Coke 600 and at Dover International Speedway.

Blickensderfer will be able to serve as crew chief during the All-Star weekend.

Blickensderfer has also been fined $65,000 and the team has been docked 35 driver and owner points. Before the penalty, Almirola had been 17th in the standings, one point out of 16th, which is the final playoff spot. Almirola is now tied with Daniel Suarez for 21st with 187 points.

Almirola’s fourth-place result in Talladega, his second top five of the year, is encumbered.

Richard Petty Motorsports released the following statement:

“We accept NASCAR’s decision and will continue to work to get the most out of our race cars every week while maintaining the NASCAR rulebook. We look forward to Kansas this weekend.”

On Tuesday, Alrmirola told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider his car failed inspection by being 0.01 of an inch beyond the tolerance.

“It’s less than the thickness of a credit card, but it’s the rules,” Almirola said. “We’ve seen other teams penalized for the same thing, so we’re not being singled out. NASCAR is making clear they have rules, and we have to play within the rules.”

NASCAR also announced Tommy Baldwin Racing crew chief Ken Davis was fined $10,000 for having only 19 lug nuts secured on the No. 7 Chevrolet of Elliott Sadler.

NASCAR also indefinitely suspended Front Row Motorsports engineer Reid T. Ferguson for violating its substance abuse policy.