NASCAR has penalized three teams after completing pre-race inspection for the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The result is that all three lost pit stall selection and a crew member for the week.
According to a release from NASCAR, the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota, and the No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet all failed inspection two times on Saturday, July 8. They all passed on the third attempt so they were able to take part in qualifying.
NASCAR ejected a member of each crew after completing its pre-race inspection. The No. 8 team lost car chief Clay Alexander while the No. 23 team lost car chief Zachary Marquardt. The No. 31 team lost engineer Garrett Peterson.
Bubba Wallace Had Another Issue During Qualifying
With the No. 23 Toyota passing inspection on the third attempt, Bubba Wallace was eligible to take part in the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. However, another issue arose early in the session.
Wallace headed out on his warmup lap after watching Austin Dillon, Noah Gragson, and Alex Bowman deal with significant handling issues during their respective laps. Wallace did not take the green flag. Instead, he pulled back down onto pit road.
Wallace did not provide details about the issue that arose during his warmup lap. Though he was visibly frustrated while debriefing with crew chief Bootie Barker. He simply told PRN that “It’s about execution, and we’re not executing.” Wallace added that this was the nicest way that he could put it.
This issue that arose on the qualifying lap created a hurdle that Wallace will have to overcome at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He will have to start from the rear of the field and attempt to work his way toward the front during a plate race. This will be no small task.
Neither Busch Nor Haley Reached the Final Round
While Wallace had to pull back onto pit road before taking the green flag, both Haley and Busch were able to complete their laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway. Though neither reached the second round of qualifying.
Haley, who finished second in the Chicago Street Race, posted the 17th-fastest lap in the No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro. He made his way around Atlanta Motor Speedway in 31.574 seconds, which was two spots ahead of teammate AJ Allmendinger in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro (31.598 seconds).
Busch, for comparison, had the 22nd-fastest lap around Atlanta Motor Speedway in the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro. He clocked in at 31.731 seconds and put himself on the 11th row next to Cole Custer in the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang (31.650 seconds).
Richard Childress Racing as a whole struggled during qualifying. Busch had the 22nd-fastest lap while Austin Dillon had the 33rd-fastest lap at 32.525 seconds. Dillon was also very vocal with his concerns about the car’s handling as he made his way around the Georgia track.
RCR has a reputation for bringing fast cars to superspeedway races, so there will be an opportunity for the No. 8 and No. 3 teams to rebound during the night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.