Team Penske crew member draws one-race suspension for Martinsville tussle

NASCAR officials penalized a Team Penske crew member Monday for his role in a post-race scuffle between drivers Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin at Martinsville Speedway.

Competition officials suspended Dave Nichols Jr., a tire technician for Logano’s No. 22 team, for the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race for his role in an altercation after Sunday’s First Data 500. He was found in violation of Section 12.8.1.C of the 2019 NASCAR Rule Book, a behavioral penalty that addresses “member-to-member confrontation with physical violence.”

RELATED: Hamlin, Logano spar at Martinsville

Crew members for both organizations intervened after a post-race discussion between Hamlin and Logano turned physical. The two drivers had been debating their sides of a late-race collision when a shove from Logano escalated the fray on pit road. Video replays showed Nichols grabbing the back of Hamlin’s fire suit and pulling him to the ground.

Nichols was among the Team Penske team members called to the NASCAR competition hauler for a post-race consultation Sunday. The others were Travis Geisler, Penske’s NASCAR competition director, and Todd Gordon, crew chief for the No. 22 Ford. Neither driver was summoned to the hauler.

NASCAR also handed out penalties to four teams that were found with one lug nut not safely secured in a post-race check. Those teams each drew a $10,000 fine for their respective crew chiefs.

Those teams and crew chiefs with lug-nut infractions at Martinsville:

– The No. 12 Team Penske Ford of Ryan Blaney (crew chief Jeremy Bullins)
– The No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (crew chief Brian Pattie)
– The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch (crew chief Adam Stevens)
– The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of William Byron (crew chief Chad Knaus)