Appeals panel upholds penalty to No. 31 Kaulig Racing team

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The National Motorsports Appeals Panel announced Wednesday it has upheld the penalty issued to the No. 31 team of Kaulig Racing.

The team, headed by crew chief Trent Owens, was issued a penalty by NASCAR for violating section 10.5.2.6 in the NASCAR rule book after a wheel on Justin Haley‘s No. 31 Chevrolet became detached from the vehicle on the track during the season-opening Daytona 500.

The panel, consisting of Tom DeLoach, Dixon Johnston and Dale Pinilis, heard the appeal Wednesday and determined to uphold the penalty, which levies a four-race suspension against Owens, front tire changer Jacob Nelson and jackman Marshall McFadden.

The three crew members were permitted to compete while the penalty was being appealed. Kaulig Racing has the right to appeal Wednesday’s ruling to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, but team president Chris Rice confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the team will not appeal the decision.

“We respect NASCAR’s decision on the appeal. We will take penalty, move on, and work hard to be better,” Rice said in a statement.

Owens, Nelson and McFadden will be eligible to return to competition at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race on April 17.

At Auto Club Speedway, Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team at Front Row Motorsports incurred the same penalty and also chose to appeal it. On Tuesday, NASCAR issued the same penalty to Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 team of Corey LaJoie after LaJoie lost a right-front wheel that sent him into the wall at Phoenix. A team spokesperson told NBC Sports the team has not yet determined whether the team will appeal.