Bubba Wallace’s crew chief suspended after COTA penalty

0 Comments

Bootie Barker, crew chief for the No. 23 car driven by Bubba Wallace, has been suspended for the next four Cup Series races, NASCAR announced Tuesday.

Barker, along with jackman Caleb Dirks and rear tire changer Adam Riley, are sidelined after the No. 23 car lost its left rear wheel at Lap 45 at Circuit of the Americas. The infraction violates section 10.5.2.6 of the NASCAR rule book: “Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.”

The wheel bounced away from Wallace’s car at Turn 16, over the guardrail and into the protective chain-link fencing.

“Following the recently issued penalty by NASCAR related to an incident at Circuit of the Americas, Dave Rogers, 23XI Performance Director, will serve as acting crew chief for the No. 23 team,” 23XI Racing said in a statement. “The team will not appeal the decision.”

Tuesday’s penalty is the fifth levied this season for a wheel detaching from a racecar, with the teams of Corey LaJoie, Todd Gilliland, Justin Haley and Kaz Grala all incurring the same decision from NASCAR.

Haley’s team at Kaulig Racing and Gilliland’s at Front Row Motorsports appealed their respective penalties but the two separate groups from the National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld NASCAR’s decision.

If 23XI Racing declines to appeal, Barker, Dirks and Riley will be eligible to return for the Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway on May 1.