Penalty Report: Atlanta

Wednesday, Mar 08

After a weekend in Atlanta, penalties were handed down in all three of NASCAR’s top series.

AJ Allmendinger’s No. 47 Kroger Click List Chevrolet team has received a L1 level penalty for lug nuts not properly installed. At the end of the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it was discovered that Allmendinger’s machine had only 17 out of 20 required lug nuts intact.

The JTG Daugherty Racing team’s 26th-place finish is encumbered per Section 12.10. No. 47  crew chief Randall Burnett has been fined $65,000 and suspended for the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events, which includes NASCAR’s ‘West Coast Swing’. The team has also lost 35 driver as well as 35 owner points.

Under Sections 20.17.3.2.1.2, Kyle Busch’s winning Rinnai 250 machine failed post-race inspection. The No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota’s finish is also encumbered per Section 12.10 and was found to have measurements outside of NASCAR’s allowed tolerances.

Crew chief Scott Graves has been fined $10,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Joe Gibbs Racing also loses 10 owner points.

The No. 23 Allegiant Airlines/NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet piloted by Chase Elliott in the Active Pest Control 200 also failed post-race inspection as it was found to have measurements outside of NASCAR’s tolerances. The NCWTS entry also did not have lug nuts properly installed.

Along with an encumbered finish, the team lost 10 truck series owner points. Crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz was fined $5,000 along with an additional $2,500 for the lug nut violation. Stankiewicz has also been suspended from the next NCWTS event at Martinsville Speedway.

Until the final few laps of the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, Matt Kenseth was not a factor to challenge the likes of Kevin Harvick, who led a dominating 292 laps, or even the ultimate winner Brad Keselowski. The No. 20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota driver failed to pick up any stage points or lead laps but in the closing moments of the 325-lap race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kenseth had made a move.

A total of 13 speeding penalties plagued the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field, Kenseth being one of the recipients. "Our DEWALT Camry was fast," he said after the race. "We just sped there on pit road some – all our lights were right so I don’t know. Something happened there and it got us behind."

Kenseth continued to have pit road issues but he was still on the way to a rebound. "We were trying to get caught up and it happened again," he said. "We just had to forget about our indications, go real slow down pit road and finally came back from it all."

"Everybody’s got the (pit road) map but I don’t know what happened there because I was plenty safe from how we set everything, which is the same as last year," Kenseth explained of the many speeding issues he and his fellow drivers faced. "I was plenty safe when we (No. 20 team) got caught and when we went out the second time, I was still playing it safe and we got caught again leaving under that yellow. There was something that just didn’t jive to our calculations for whatever reason."

When Harvick’s chances grew dim with a pit road penalty in the final few laps, Kenseth was ready to pounce but had a little trouble on the ensuing restart. "We were going to line up third," Kenseth explained. "I was like ‘Man, I don’t think anybody is going to beat Kevin (Harvick). He led all day but we might at least have a shot,’ but I ended up second and those first two guys (Keselowski and Kyle Larson) cleared me and I just couldn’t get around them in that many laps."

At the end of the day, despite the penalties, Kenseth was pleased with the comeback but it was not easy. "It was an uphill battle all day," he said. "It took all day to get our laps back and get back into position but we had a good car and are glad we got a decent result."

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAMPTON, Ga.—  Holding off lapped traffic and a late race charge by Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch was able to win the Rinnai 250 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is his 87th career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is his second straight win at Atlanta.

“We weren’t great early on, and weren’t great for the middle. Scott Graves and these guys worked on it all day long,” said Busch after the race in victory lane.

Busch started the race from the pole. Busch as able to get a jump on the start of the race because the outside lane was unable to get moving. The caution flew for the first time of the race when Austin Dillon spun collecting Blake Koch coming off of the second turn. On the restart, Busch got the lead on the restart, but lost the lead coming off the backstretch to Brad Keselowski. Busch began to close in on Keselowski in the later laps of the opening stage as many drivers began to hit pit road. Keselowski won the stage, Busch finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Denny Hanlin finished fourth, and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage. All the leaders went down pit road to get four fresh Goodyear tires.

The second stage saw the outside lane get a terrible start as Keselowski would set sail with the lead. Busch and Harvick would battle for the second spot, but Busch was able to get the advantage. After pulling away from Harvick, Busch set his eyes on Keselowski. Busch was close to Keselowski but backed out to help conserve his tires for the end of the stage. Busch fell back to third after being passed by Harvick. Harvick went on to win the segment followed by Keselowski, Busch, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five. Brendan Gaughan made contact with the wall on the frontstretch.

Busch was quiet during the opening laps of the final stage. Hamlin brought out the caution for a spin in one due to tire failure, something he was battling throughout the final stage. Busch restarted on the outside lane, but couldn’t get the momentum. The caution flew again for fluid on the track. Busch and the leaders went down pit road. Busch was able to grab the race lead off pit road. Busch received a great restart since the outside couldn’t get going. Towards the end of the run, Busch was  entering lapped traffic and almost lost the lead as he almost made contact with Harrison Rhodes. Keselowski came close to battle Busch with the lead, but failed to do so giving Busch the victory.

Keselowski finished second, Larson finished third, Harvick finished fourth, and Elliott Sadler finished n the fifth position.

Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Boyd Gaming 300.. Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network will have the call beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST.

HAMPTON, Ga.—  Kyle Busch will start from the pole in today’s Rinnai 250 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is his sixth pole at Atlanta.

The opening round saw Carl Long stopped the clock after a spin and hitting the wall in the second turn. Brendan Gaughan was on a flyer lap, but was slowed coming off of turn four by a slower vehicle.  The red flew again because of a fire underneath the hood of Mike Harmon. Elliott Sadler was able to post a time in this round, but did not post a time in the second round due to a flat tire. Sadler will start 21st. Long, Harmon, and Morgan Shepard will not start the race

Ross Chastain and Dakota Armstrong did not make times in the second round.

At the end of qualifying, Ky. Busch had the fastest speed of 183.862 mph. William Byron qualified second at 183.777 mph, Brad Keselowski qualified third at 183.661 mph, Kyle Larson qualified fourth at 183.327 mph, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five at 183.103 mph.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—   In an afternoon media availability with Toyota owners, Joe Gibbs was asked about the reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) concerning the issues within NASCAR Management. Coach Gibbs mentioned that he was interviewed for the article, but his quotes were not mentioned. 

 “I was interviewed for that article, and there wasn't one comment I made that was in that article, or there was no slant to anything in there,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs, as well as other owners on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, believe that the sport is in  a great position, despite the reports. 

 “When I look at the sport, and I go back to 2006 when I ran the Super Bowl in Detroit.  We were lucky to have 70,000 seats and to think about every weekend we have better than a Super Bowl 38 times.  People need to take that into consideration, and then as you stack the media and the social media on top of that, I think the connection is amazing and with the disruption we’re gonna have now with these three different segments, certainly when we announce a sponsorship like Shell yesterday for seven years and you see Fed Ex, I think that there’s never been more competition on the race track.  I think what we have to do as a group, the people in this room, we have to take a little different look at this,” said Penske.

Gibbs and Penske both mentioned the long-term commitments that Shell and FedEx announced this week to help validate their claims.

“We announced FedEx the other day, a new extension for them, a long‑term extension. There's three other sponsors that we also did that with our race team alone. We saw Shell come in and make a huge decision with Roger,” said Gibbs “We also have two new sponsors coming in that we can't announce right now that will probably be announced within the month, okay.’

The Wall Street Journal interviewed numerous executives within the sport, but did not include any portion of their interviews.

“My personal opinion. I just kind of felt like this thing was already going in a direction, and it was like when I was asked questions, it was, we're headed one direction, I don't care what you say. Now, maybe that's not fair and I know that, but I felt it. I felt that. I felt it personally. And I take it because this is all my family, J.D., Coy, all of us, all we do is race every day,” said Gibbs

Speedway Digest has reached out to Tripp Mickle and Valerie Baurlein, writers of the article, but have declined comment. However, The Wall Street Journal has talked to other media outlets stating they stand by the fair and accurate reporting from Mickle and Baurelin. Daytona International Speedway officials have confirmed that WSJ does not have a presence at the speedway during the weekends marquee event, the Daytona 500.