NASCAR disqualifies Ross Chastain’s winning truck for failing inspection

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For the first time since NASCAR instituted a rule before this season that a winning vehicle would be disqualified if it failed inspection, Ross Chastain‘s winning Truck Sunday at Iowa Speedway failed inspection and was disqualified.

Brett Moffitt, who crossed the finish line second, was declared the winner and also gets the $50,000 bonus for winning a Triple Truck Challenge race.

Chastain’s truck was found to be too low in the front.

MORE: Updated race results  

MORE: Updated points report

Chastain’s team, Niece Motorsports, announced Sunday afternoon that it would appeal the decision. In a statement from team owner Al Niece, he said that Chastain’s truck “sustained minor damage during the event, which left the truck too low following the race.”

That appeal process will be expedited. Should the team lose that appeal, they cannot appeal the decision any further based on section 14.6.f of the rule book, which states:

“In a Race Disqualification Appeal, the decision of the Panelist, which could be an Appeals Panelist, FAO, or his/her alternates, under Section 14 Appeals to the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel, will be considered final and there is no ability to appeal the decision to the Final Appeals Office as outlined in Section 15 Final Appeal to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.”

Brad Moran, managing director of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series said after the race: “We have a procedures and rules in place, trucks are restricted on their ride heights at the front and rear of the vehicles. Unfortunately, the 44 (Chastain’s truck) was low on the front, extremely low.

“We have a process of what happens at that point. They do get an opportunity to roll around. They put fuel in the vehicle, they air the tires. Give them at least five to 10 minutes. Check them a second time. Unfortunately, the 44 did not rise on the front at all.”

Here is the section in the rule book on ride heights:

Chastain was a part of Motor Racing Network’s broadcast of the Xfinity race on Sunday and addressed what happened in the Truck race to his team.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It was tough to walk up here (to the radio booth) across the frontstretch and walk by victory lane and where everything has happened, yeah, they took it away from us. It’s an old rule that they stand by and … the lower series of all the divisions still go by ride height rules and Cup Series has gotten away from it but we were just too low. The truck wouldn’t come back up. I’m not sure why. They wouldn’t let us look under the hood or anything. It went through (inspection) before the race.

“In any race car these days … it’s been this way for the last 25 years, the lower you get it, the better it handles. We, as racers and the race teams, our trucks, when we go around the race track are scraping the ground even though our ride height rules (are higher than that). You go through tech pre-race and it has to be up at that predetermined amount.

“As soon as we get into the truck and I come off pit road, every race truck in the field and race car in this Xfinity Series, it falls down on the ground and you race right scraping the ground. That’s why we have splitters and our side skirts are made to wear so that we can handle the bumps and still have the aero platform we want. Then, whenever you come in, you’re supposed to have it where it automatically comes back up. It’s just physics and mechanical parts and something on ours just didn’t push quite hard enough.

“I don’t know what the problem was, but we still won that race. Like you said, we won both stages, we led a ton of laps. It’s still a dream come true, but, yeah, they took it away. It’s kind of ironic now that we’re sitting next to NASCAR (officials) up here in the booth.”

This is Moffitt’s first win of the season and the eighth of his career. Ben Rhodes finished second and Harrison Burton placed third. Moffitt did not lead any of the race’s 200 laps. Chastain led 141. Racing Insights has no record of a winner in NASCAR ever leading zero laps but notes that lead lap information in the 1950s and ’60s is incomplete.

“It’s a big change of emotions and obviously this is not the way I want to win it as a race car driver, I still know I got beat on track, which is frustrating,” Moffitt said. “Back in the beginning of the year when NASCAR implemented this system, it was to clear up the Tuesday disqualifications and the encumbered wins and let the fans know and everyone else know who actually won the race. I’d still would rather take the checkered and be the first one to it, but I’ll take a win anyway I can get it and that solidifies our playoff spot.”

Moffitt said he was on the way to the airport when his team called him and told him to return to the track.

Should Chastain’s team not win the appeal, it could prove devastating to his playoff hopes. He changed what series he scored points in from Xfinity to Trucks on June 4. Chastain needs a victory in the last six regular-season races and be in the top 20 in points to be eligible for the playoffs.

With the disqualification, Chastain is listed as finishing last (32nd) and receives last-place points (five) instead of 60 he would have gotten. He loses all the points (and playoff points) for the win and also loses the stage and playoff points for winning both stages.

Chastain has 43 points. He’s 69 points behind Josh Reaume, who is 20th in the season standings.

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Cheddar’s to sponsor Kyle Busch’s No. 8 car in 2023

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Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen will return to Richard Childress Racing and sponsor Kyle Busch in multiple races, the team announced Friday morning.

RCR also announced the deal is a multi-year agreement with the company that made its debut in the sport three years ago.

“We’ve loved partnering with RCR and the No. 8 race team since our debut into the sport three years ago, and we’re just getting started,” said John Felton, Senior Director of Marketing for Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome Kyle Busch and Rowdy Nation to the Cheddar’s family, and we look forward to celebrating many wins to come.”

Busch takes over the No. 8 in 2023 after spending the past 15 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing.

RCR did not detail which races Cheddar’s will serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 8 car.

The 2023 Cup season opens with the Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race Feb. 5 before the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.

Milestones in reach for NASCAR Cup drivers in 2023

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While the countdown to the start of the 2023 NASCAR season in February continues, here’s a look at some of the milestones Cup drivers could reach in the upcoming season:

AJ Allmendinger

Allmendinger returns to drive the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing in 2023. He’s scheduled to make his 400th career Cup start March 26 at Circuit of the Americas, a race he nearly won last year.

Aric Almirola

Almirola is 26 laps away from leading 1,000 laps in his Cup career.

Ryan Blaney 

Blaney is scheduled to make his 300th career Cup start Sept. 24 at Texas in the playoffs. Texas was the site of his last Cup win, which came in the All-Star Race in May.

Chase Briscoe

Briscoe is scheduled to make his 100th career Cup start Sept. 10 at Kansas in the playoffs.

Kyle Busch 

Busch needs one win to set the NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a win. He is tied with Richard Petty with 18 entering the 2023 season, which will see Busch drive for Richard Childress Racing.

Busch is 92 laps away from leading 19,000 laps in his Cup career.

He is 34 starts away from tying Dale Earnhardt Sr. for 23rd on the all-time list of most career starts at 676. Busch is scheduled to tie Earnhardt’s mark Oct. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the playoffs and surpass the mark the next weekend at Martinsville Speedway in the playoffs.

William Byron 

Byron is scheduled to make his 200th career Cup start July 16 at New Hampshire.

Chase Elliott

Elliott is a win from scoring a victory in six consecutive Cup seasons.

He is 100 laps away from leading 5,000 in his Cup career.

Justin Haley

Haley is scheduled to make his 100th career Cup start Sept. 10 at Kansas in the playoffs.

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin is two wins away from 50 career Cup wins. That would tie him with Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 13th on the all-time victory list. 

Kevin Harvick

Harvick is scheduled to make his 800th career Cup start April 23 at Talladega.

He is 15 starts from tying Jeff Gordon for ninth on the all-time list for most career Cup starts at 805. Harvick is scheduled to tie Gordon’s mark June 4 at World Wide Technology Raceway and is scheduled to move ahead of Gordon on June 11 at Sonoma.

Harvick is 99 laps away from leading 16,000 laps in his Cup career.

He is five top fives away from having 250 in his Cup career.

Brad Keselowski

Keselowski is scheduled to make his 500th career Cup start June 4 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

He is 93 laps away from 9,000 career laps led in Cup.

Kyle Larson

Larson is scheduled to make his 300th career Cup start March 19 at Atlanta.

He is four top 10s away from 150 career top 10s.

Joey Logano

Logano is one win from having a Cup victory in 12 consecutive seasons, which would tie him for 13th on the all-time list with Denny Hamlin.

Logano is one top five away from 150 career top-five finishes.

He is nine starts away from tying Richard Petty for 19th on the all-time list of consecutive starts at 513. Logano is scheduled to reach that mark April 16 at Martinsville and surpass it April 23 at Talladega.

Tyler Reddick

Reddick is nine top 10s away from 50 career top 10s.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stenhouse is scheduled to make his 400th career start in the season finale at Phoenix.

He is five top 10s away from 50 career Cup top 10s.

Daniel Suarez

Suarez is one top 10 away from 50 career top 10s in Cup.

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex is 16 starts from tying Jeff Burton for 10th on the all-time list of consecutive starts at 628. Truex is scheduled to reach that mark at June 11 at Sonoma and surpass it June 25 at Nashville.

Bubba Wallace

Wallace is scheduled to make his 200th Cup start June 25 at Nashville.

Sammy Smith to run full Xfinity season for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023

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Sammy Smith will run the full Xfinity schedule in the No. 18 car, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday.

The 18-year-old Smith, a Toyota development driver, won the ARCA Menards Series East title for a second consecutive year in 2022 and also made nine Xfinity starts with JGR.

Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt will be sponsors on Smith’s car throughout the 2023 season. Jeff Meendering will be Smith’s crew chief.

“This is an opportunity I have been working towards,” Smith said in a statement from the team. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel full-time and am looking forward to a great season. I learned a lot in 2022 that will really help me to be competitive and run up front in the Xfinity Series. Thank you to Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group, and Toyota Racing Development for supporting me in my racing career. I am excited for next year and appreciate the opportunity.”

Said Steve DeSouza, JGR executive vice president of Xfinity Series and driver development, in a statement: “Sammy is a fantastic addition to our 2023 Xfinity lineup. He proved to have the passion and the talent to necessary to compete for wins in the races he ran for us in 2022,” .“We are excited to get him in the No. 18 full time and know he will be competitive from the jump.”

NASCAR Power Rankings: Racing through the numbers

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Some drivers carry one car number throughout their racing careers. The most famous racers in NASCAR’s 75-year history typically are associated with one number, although some have raced under several.

Victories, championships and driver personalities give life to something as generally mundane as a number. And the most popular produce even bigger numbers, as in sales of T-shirts, caps and other souvenirs.

Here’s a look at 10 of the most iconic NASCAR numbers:

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. 43 — Since Richard Petty’s emergence as a superstar in the 1960s, the number 43 has been NASCAR’s most iconic. Although Lee Petty, Richard’s father, usually drove No. 42, he actually scored the first win by the 43, in 1959. The Petty blue No. 43 carried Richard to a string of championships. He scored 192 of his 200 race wins with the number. It rolls on today with Erik Jones, who took the 43 to the Southern 500 victory lane this season.

2. 3 — The fiercely facing forward No. 3 became ultra-famous while driven by seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt (although Earnhardt won his first title driving the No. 2). Earnhardt’s black Chevrolet carried the number to new heights, but Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, Buddy Baker and Ricky Rudd, among others, also won in the car.

MORE: Where are they now? Buddy Parrott

3. 21 — The list of drivers who have raced Wood Brothers Racing’s famous No. 21, with the familiar gold foil numbers, reads like a history of NASCAR. David Pearson brought the most fame to the number, but Tim Flock, Curtis Turner, team owner Glen Wood, Cale Yarborough, A.J. Foyt, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett and Dale Jarrett also have driven the 21.

4. 11 — This number is responsible for more race wins — 228 — than any other. It also has scored eight championships — three each by Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough and two by Ned Jarrett. Other stars in the 11 over the years: Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison, A.J. Foyt, Terry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine, Bill Elliott and Denny Hamlin. And some guy named Mario Andretti.

5. 48 — This number was largely ignored until the arrival of Jimmie Johnson, who carried it to seven championships, including five in a row.

6. 24 — The number 24 was a lonely number until 1994 when a kid named Jeff Gordon drove it to its first win, in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The brightly colored 24 became a regular visitor to victory lane from that point forward, carrying Gordon to four championships and becoming one of NASCAR’s most decorated numbers.

MORE: Will Kyle Busch follow footsteps of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning?

7. 18 — Although Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte won in the 18, Kyle Busch, draped in the bright colors of sponsor M&Ms, took it into new territory.

8. 22 — NASCAR’s first Cup champion (Red Byron) and its most recent (Joey Logano) rode with the 22. The number has produced 87 wins over the years, including victories by Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Ward Burton, Kurt Busch, Byron and Logano.

9. 2 — Although the 2 carried Dale Earnhardt (1980) and Brad Keselowski (2012) to Cup championships, it is perhaps most identified with Rusty Wallace, whose menacing black No. 2 was powerful at Team Penske. Also successful in the 2: Bill Blair, Kurt Busch and Austin Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 winner.

10. 9 — The 9 was basically nondescript until Bill Elliott roared out of the north Georgia mountains to turn it into a big winner in the mid-1980s. His son, Chase, continues the trend.