NASCAR Texas Motor Speedway Penalties – Roush Fenway Racing hit with $10,000 lug nut penalty
NASCAR issued penalties Wednesday to the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 team for post-race infractions after last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove the No. 17 Ford to a 14th-place finish in last Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, but NASCAR officials found one of the car’s 20 lug nuts was improperly installed in a post-race check. Wednesday, RFR crew chief Brian Pattie was fined $10,000 for the safety violation.
Pattie, who has been atop the pit box for four victories in NASCAR’s premier series, is in his second season with the Jack Roush-owned organization. It’s his first season paired with Stenhouse, who is currently ranked 19th in the drivers’ standings after the year’s first seven races.
The penalty is the lightest for post-race lug-nut violations, under the updated deterrence system that NASCAR competition officials released Feb. 16. The penalty for two improperly fastened lug nuts rises to a $20,000 fine and one-race crew chief suspension. Three or more unsecured lug nuts results in a L1-grade penalty with a three-race ban for the crew chief, a $65,000 fine and the loss of 35 championship points in both the drivers’ and team owners’ standings.
#2 Brad Keselowski Penalty Upheld
A three-member appeals panel upheld L1-grade penalties Wednesday against Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford team for failing technical inspection after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on March 19 at Phoenix Raceway.
The ruling by the National Motorsports Appeal Panel confirms the penalty issued by NASCAR on March 22, fining the team $65,000, handing a three-race suspension to crew chief Paul Wolfe, and docking Brad Keselowski 35 points in the drivers’ standings and Roger Penske an equal point total in the team owners’ standings.
Wolfe has already served one race of his three-race ban, sitting out the March 26 event at Auto Club Speedway. Team Penske had delayed its appeal request until after the Auto Club race to provide an opportunity to further inspect its Phoenix vehicle at its Mooresville, North Carolina, shop.
Brian Wilson replaced Wolfe at Auto Club, leading the No. 2 team to a second-place finish. Wolfe returned — with the appeal pending — the following weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where Keselowski scored his second victory of the season.
Wolfe is scheduled to sit out the next two events on the Monster Energy Series schedule — April 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway and April 30 at Richmond International Raceway. He is eligible to return May 7 at Talladega Superspeedway, where Keselowski is the defending race winner.
Team Penske’s penalty fell under the heading of Section 220.127.116.11.2 of the 2017 NASCAR Rule Book, which addresses general measurements (in this instance, rear steer) in the team’s post-race pass through the Laser Inspection Station (LIS).
According to the NASCAR Rule Book, Team Penske has the right to appeal Wednesday’s ruling to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.
The three members of the National Motorsports Appeal Panel attending Wednesday’s hearing were:
— Rick Crawford, former driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
— Hunter Nickell, former president of the SPEED Channel
— Dale Pinilis, longtime operator of Bowman Gray Stadium