Keith Wolfe

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Two Xfinity crew chiefs suspended one race for Charlotte penalties

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NASCAR has issued suspensions to two Xfinity Series crew chiefs for infractions following last Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief on Christopher Bell‘s No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, was suspended one race after the car failed front and rear body heights in post qualifying and post-race inspection.

The L1 penalty includes a $10,000 fine for Ratcliff, a 10-point deduction of driver and owner points and Bell’s third-place result won’t go toward tiebreakers in points for the playoffs.

Bell now has 385 points but remains second in the standings, 48 points behind Elliott Sadler.

Joe Gibbs Racing told NBC Sports on Wednesday that it will not appeal the penalty. Wesley Sherill will serve as the team’s crew chief this weekend at Pocono.

Keith Wolfe, crew chief on B.J. McLeod Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet, is suspended for one race for having two lug nuts unsecured. Tommy Joe Martins finished 24th in the race.

B.J. McLeod Motorsports told NBC Sports it will not appeal the suspension and is working on a replacement crew chief.

NASCAR also fined Cole Pearn, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

 

 

Latest young gun makes Xfinity debut: Matt Mills to race at Phoenix

Photo courtesy B.J. McLeod Motorsports
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After four starts in 2016 in the Camping World Truck Series, 19-year-old Matt Mills will make his Xfinity Series debut this Saturday at Phoenix Raceway.

The Lynchburg, Virginia native will drive the No. 8 Thompson Electric Chevrolet for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the DC Solar 200. Mills will be making his second career start at Phoenix, having finished a career-best 21st in the Truck Series race there last fall.

“This is a great opportunity and I’m excited, yet humbled to be making my NASCAR Xfinity Series debut,” Mills said in a media release. “I’m hoping that my prior experience at Phoenix should be to some benefit to myself and the B.J. McLeod Motorsports team.

“I’m really hoping for a good result on Saturday afternoon.”

Veteran Keith Wolfe will serve as Mills’ crew chief.

In addition to Mills, B.J. McLeod Motorsports will have two other drivers entered in Saturday’s race: team principal B.J. McLeod in the No. 78 Chevrolet and veteran driver David Starr in the No. 99 Chevy.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Matt have a great Xfinity Series debut on Saturday,” McLeod said. “He is a sharp kid who takes his racing very seriously and is anxious to learn and succeed.

“I think with prior experience at Phoenix, it offers the chance to make that transition that much smoother.”

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