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July 20, 2022

Penalty report: Suspensions issued to No. 2 Penske crew for lost wheel at NHMS

Austin Cindric's No. 2 Ford at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
James Gilbert
Getty Images

NASCAR officials penalized the No. 2 Team Penske Ford team Wednesday for a lost wheel during last weekend’s Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Cup Series standings

Austin Cindric had brought the No. 2 Ford to pit road for service during the Stage 2 intermission of Sunday’s Ambetter 301. Shortly after leaving his pit stall, the left-front wheel detached from his car and rolled down pit road.

The infraction fell under the NASCAR Rule Book Sections and (loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle). As a result, competition officials issued four-race suspensions to crew chief Jeremy Bullins, plus crew members Curtis Thompson (front tire changer) and Patrick Gray (jack).

In a similar situation nearly a week and a half ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway, competition officials opted against penalizing the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for a wheel that became dislodged on pit road. Elton Sawyer — NASCAR’s vice president of officiating and technical inspection — said in a Tuesday appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the No. 2 team’s infraction came under different circumstances.

“The amount of speed that the tire is carrying down pit road, did it impede another competitor — all of those things go into the decision-making and obviously the distance that one tire traveled on pit road, the 20 car versus what the 2 car was significantly different,” Sawyer told SiriusXM. “So although the optics are a loss of wheel on pit road, the two scenarios are quite a bit different. We’ll continue to dissect that and look at it. Again, we don’t want to over-officiate, but tires coming off is a huge safety concern and we just have to make sure that we’re handling that correctly. So we’ll continue to have dialogue internally … but they are two different situations for sure.”