Joey Logano wasn’t the only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver whose team was hit with a penalty by NASCAR on Thursday, although the other penalty announced paled in comparison.
The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin in the Cup Series was penalized for missing one lug nut in a post-race check Sunday at Richmond. Crew chief Mike Wheeler was handed a $10,000 fine after the lug nut was found to be improperly secured.
The infraction was noted after driver Hamlin recorded a season-best third-place finish in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400.
Logano’s penalty for a rear-suspension violation discovered during post-race teardown at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, was much more severe. NASCAR announced Thursday that Logano’s race win at Richmond thus was “encumbered” and would not count toward qualifying him for the Monster Energy post-season playoffs, nor would the five bonus points he would have earned toward those playoffs be awarded should he otherwise qualify for the playoffs.
Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, also was fined $50,000 and suspended two races, plus Logano was docked 25 driver points and the team 25 owner points.
The only other penalties announced by NASCAR Thursday also involved lug nuts, but were assessed to XFINITY Series teams.
Three XFINITY teams drew penalties for lug-nut infractions, the most severe of which was issued to the Richard Childress Racing No. 21 Chevrolet, driven to a third-place finish from the pole at Richmond by rookie Daniel Hemric. The car was found with two unsecured lug nuts, resulting in a $10,000 fine and a one-race suspension for crew chief Danny Stockman Jr.
Two other XFINITY teams were dealt $5,000 crew chief fines for one unsecured lug nut each: the No. 3 driven by Ty Dillon, whose crew chief Matt Swiderski; and the No. 46 driven by Quin Houff, whose crew chief is Mark Setzer.
The guidelines for post-race lug-nut violations are a part of the sport’s deterrence system, updated by competition officials in the offseason for the 2017 NASCAR Rule Book.