DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR suspended a slew of crew chiefs for violations that included Denny Hamlin’s winning cars in his weekend sweep at Darlington, as well as loose lug nuts on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car.
Hamlin won both the Cup and Xfinity races in South Carolina, but NASCAR ruled that his cars violated rear suspension rules. Cup crew chief Mike Wheeler was suspended two races, fined $50,000 and Hamlin was stripped of five playoff points. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will still make NASCAR’s playoff field, but he will likely be without Wheeler for at least one race.
Should Wheeler sit out Saturday night’s regular-season finale at Richmond, he would only miss the playoff opener at Chicago.
Earnhardt crew chief Greg Ives was suspended one race and fined $20,000 for two loose lug nuts found. Hendrick Motorsports said Travis Mack will replace Ives, who will not be able to crew chief Earnhardt in the driver’s final attempt to qualify for the playoffs.