NASCAR officials issued L1-level penalties to three Cup Series teams Saturday after the nose of each car did not meet specifications in prerace inspection at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The teams and drivers affected are:
- The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.
- The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for defending Cup Series champ Kyle Busch
- The No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota — a Gibbs-affiliated car — for Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell
The penalties include 10-point deductions in both the team owners’ and drivers’ standings. Additionally, all three cars will drop to the rear of the field during pace laps for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).
Busch was set to start from the pole position after Saturday rain washed away Busch Pole Qualifying for the Cup Series. He’ll be officially credited with the first starting spot, but will take the green flag at the back of the 38-car field. Hamlin was set to start fourth, with Bell 22nd.
“I think I knocked the wall down about Lap 11 last time here starting in the middle of the pack,” Busch said. “Maybe I’ll just start half a lap down and be clean air and run the pack down and catch them and blow by them one at a time, I don’t know. I’ll strategize that overnight.”
The Camrys of Busch, Hamlin and Bell, along with those of JGR teammates Truex and Erik Jones, were docked practice time on Friday for attempting to change the shape of the front fenders with body filler.
Truex’s car failed inspection once on Saturday because of what the driver termed an issue with the “toe” (tire angle) but passed on the second attempt. Truex will retain his second-place starting spot on Sunday.
Contributing: Wire reports