Ballast falls off Denny Hamlin’s car, impacts his Coca-Cola 600 start

Denny Hamlin started Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 on pit road for repairs as his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota lost ballast during pace laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Hamlin was scheduled to start 13th in the 600-mile race, but tungsten weight fell from his car during the pre-race warm-up. He headed to pit road just before the green flag but lost eight laps as his JGR crew scrambled to replace it.

According to guidelines established in the 2020 NASCAR Rule Book, improperly secured ballast is expected to result in a significant post-race penalty beyond the early deficit. Rule 12.5.2.7.4.d states: “Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle will result in a four-race suspension of the crew chief, car chief, and head engineer.”

Hamlin has two victories this year, the season-opening Daytona 500 and the NASCAR Cup Series’ most recent race, last Wednesday at Darlington Raceway.