NASCAR Suspends Another Crew Chief For Lug Nut Violation

Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

For the fourth time this season, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief will be absent from the track this weekend due to a missing lug nut discovered by NASCAR post-race. Chad Johnston – crew chief of the No. 42 team driven by Kyle Larson – will serve a one-week suspension during this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway.

Johnston will also be on probation through December 31st. Chip Ganassi Racing has said they will not appeal the decision, indicating that the “lug nut rule” implemented (or perhaps re-implemented) by NASCAR is rather black and white.

After NASCAR moved to a camera-based officiating system at the beginning of last season, it eliminated the need for there to be an official physically monitoring every pitstop. As a result, NASCAR didn’t have a way to monitor how many lug nuts were on the wheel and whether or not they were tight, and instead promised severe penalties if a wheel come off the car because it was not properly installed.

This season, many influential individuals in the sport – including three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart—said that the lack of enforcement created a safety issue, especially after several weeks where teams were forced to come back to pit road because of loose wheels. NASCAR first reacted by fining Stewart, then decided they would begin issuing a one-race penalty to any crew chief of a team discovered to have lug nuts missing (or improperly installed) from any of the wheels post-race.

Other crew chiefs to serve a lug nut-related suspension since the rule was put into place for the Kansas Speedway race weekend a few weeks ago includes Adam Stevens (crew chief of the No. 18 team for Kyle Busch); Randall Burnett (No. 47, AJ Allmendinger); and Tony Gibson (No. 41, Kurt Busch). Kurt Busch won last weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway while Gibson was serving his suspension.

One Comment

  1. Marc G

    June 8, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Much like we saw last week with Kurt. I think Larson will put on a show this weekend!Looking for a 24/42/21 battle to the end. Maybe wishful thinking but I’d be all about the young guns dominating one or 2 of these races!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *