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September 26, 2023

Two Cup Series teams hit with pit-crew suspensions for detached wheels at Texas


The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet crew performs a pit stop at North Wilkesboro Speedway
Jared C. Tilton
Getty Images

NASCAR officials issued crew-member suspensions to two Cup Series teams and one Xfinity Series team for detached wheels during last weekend’s races at Texas Motor Speedway.

The safety violation falls under the heading of Section 8.8.10.4.C in the NASCAR Rule Book (Tires and Wheels) and refers to the “loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle during the event.”

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Two teams had wheels come unattached in crashes during Sunday’s Cup Series event at the 1.5-mile Fort Worth track. Two-race suspensions were issued to:

No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet: Josh Sobecki (jack) and Michael Johnson (rear-tire changer)
No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford: Matthew Schlytter (jack) and Coleman Dollarhide (rear-tire changer)

In the Xfinity Series, one team had a wheel break loose during Saturday’s 300-miler, resulting in two-race suspensions for a pair of pit-crew members.

No. 27 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet: Justin Clapper (jack) and Dakota Bonds (rear-tire changer)

The rule for a detached wheel changed before the 2023 season. Previously, a four-race suspension was handed to the offending team’s crew chief. Starting this season, the penalty means two-race suspensions for pit-crew members and a two-lap penalty if the wheel detaches on the track. An errant wheel on pit road during green-flag conditions results in a pass-through penalty; under yellow, that same violation means the team must restart at the tail of the field.

Also in the Xfinity Series, competition officials issued a penalty for a single unsecured lug nut on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven to a third-place finish at Texas by Sammy Smith. The infraction resulted in a $5,000 fine for crew chief Jeff Meendering.

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