NASCAR officials handed down L1-level penalties to two more Monster Energy Series teams Wednesday, docking the No. 12 Team Penske operation and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for body panel infractions in last weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway.
The No. 12 Ford that Ryan Blaney drove to a runner-up finish in last Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 was found with unapproved door front crush panels, a violation of Section 18.104.22.168.b in the NASCAR Rule Book. That rule states that “all filler panels must remain permanently attached for the entire event.”
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The No. 20 Toyota that carried Erik Jones to fourth place was found with infractions on the body and package tray. Those sections (20.4.h and 22.214.171.124.b) in the rule book note that “air cannot pass from one area of the vehicle interior to another. Vehicle package tray must remain flat and straight, front to back, with one break.”
The penalties for both organizations are identical, with each team losing 20 points in both the drivers and team owners standings. For the No. 12 team, crew chief Jeremy Bullins has been fined $50,000 and car chief Kirk Almquist has been suspended from the next two Monster Energy Series races. On the No. 20 team, officials issued a $50,000 fine to crew chief Chris Gayle and suspended car chief Jason Overstreet for the next two events.
Those punishments are in addition to L1-level penalties handed to the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Texas race winner Kevin Harvick. NASCAR officials issued penalties for an unapproved spoiler on the No. 4 car, stripping the team of the benefits associated with the win and shaking up the playoff picture.
Both violations, found after a post-race technical inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center, are applied to the race finish for both teams. Blaney and Jones each qualified for this year’s NASCAR Playoffs, but both have since been eliminated from championship contention.
Officials also penalized one team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for a safety infraction for losing a ballast container during a practice session last Thursday at Texas. NASCAR officials suspended three crew members for the No. 35 NextGen Motorsports team — crew chief Ryan Bell, truck chief Jerry Kennedy and mechanic Patrick Magee — for the next three Truck Series events, a span that stretches until after the 2019 season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Brennan Poole drove the No. 35 Toyota to a 15th-place finish in the NextGen team’s debut in the series.