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April 10, 2021

Crew chief for No. 99 Cup team ejected before Martinsville race

Chris Graythen | Getty Images
Chris Graythen
Getty Images

NASCAR ejected crew chief Travis Mack for the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Team before Saturday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. During pre-race technical inspection in the NASCAR Cup Series garage, the No. 99 Chevrolet was found with added ballast outside of the approved container (a violation of section in the NASCAR Rule Book).

Daniel Suarez was set to start 11th in the race, but now he will drop to the rear during pace laps. The penalty also includes a loss of 10 NASCAR Cup Series championship driver points and owner points.

RELATED: Updated Martinsville schedule

According to multiple reports, Trackhouse’s race engineer Jose Blasco-Figueroa will take over the crew-chief duties for the race, the eighth points-paying event in the 2021 season. Blasco-Figueroa filled in at crew chief earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway when Mack was suspended for the car having two loose lug nuts at Phoenix Raceway.

Suarez finished 17th at Atlanta with Blasco-Figueroa as the crew chief. With Mack back at the helm, Suarez recorded a season-best finish of fourth place two weeks ago on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt. Suarez currently sits 20th in the driver standings, 28 points below the playoff cutline.

Tyler Reddick will also start at the rear for unapproved adjustments. The driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was slated to line up 13th.

The Nos. 7 (Corey LaJoie, starting 34th), 15 (James Davison, starting 37th) and 77 (Justin Haley, starting 30th) Cup cars had multiple inspection failures before Saturday’s race and will also drop to the rear.