NASCAR Hands Down Pre-Race Penalties to 5 Teams Ahead of COTA

Andy Lally

Getty Andy Lally drives the No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford Mustang.

The sanctioning body has penalized five teams ahead of the Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas on March 27 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Live Fast Motorsports is at the forefront after failing inspection three times, taking away the opportunity to qualify.

The No. 78 Ford Mustang featuring Andy Lally as the driver will have to start from the rear of the field after failing inspection three times on March 25. Lally will also have to serve a pass-through penalty at the start of the 68-lap race. NASCAR ejected an engineer from the No. 78 team for the weekend.

While Live Fast Motorsports failed inspection three times, four other teams failed twice and also lost a crew member for the race at COTA. The No. 6 RFK Racing Ford of Brad Keselowski lost its car chief, the No. 50 TMT Racing Chevrolet of Kaz Grala lost its chassis specialist, the No. 66 MBM Motorsports Ford of Boris Said lost its chassis specialist, and the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet of Josh Bilicki lost its race engineer.

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Lally Has Several Moves To Make in Austin

Andy Lally

GettyAndy Lally (right) will make his 40th Cup Series start.

The pass-through penalty and the move to the rear of the field will certainly limit Lally’s opportunities to fight for a strong finish at Circuit of the Americas. He will also have to make some progress after having one of the slowest times in practice while driving the No. 78 Ford Mustang.

According to NASCAR’s practice report, Lally had the 33rd-fastest lap time during the practice session on March 26. His best lap was 135.433 seconds at 90.643 mph while Kyle Busch topped the list at 132.455 seconds and 92.681 mph. Though Busch only posted the 15th-fastest time during the first round of qualifying at the Texas road course.

Lally has extensive experience at road courses, split between multiple NASCAR series and other racing disciplines, so he will be a name to watch as he tries to make some positive moves. The 2011 Cup Series Rookie of the Year will now continue to gain experience while making his 40th start overall at the top level of NASCAR.

RFK Racing Will Race Without 2 Crew Members

The loss of the car chief is the latest hit for RFK Racing. NASCAR also announced on Thursday that the No. 6 had failed teardown inspection at the R&D Center, resulting in an L2-level penalty: four-race suspension for crew chief Matt McCall, the loss of 100 driver points, the loss of 100 owner points, and a $100,000 fine for McCall.

RFK Racing has announced that it will appeal the penalty. However, the team still headed to Texas for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix without McCall in his role as the crew chief. Instead, RFK Racing would have Josh Sell as the interim option.

Keselowski will enter the Cup Series race without two key members of his crew, and he will start in the back half of the field. He will line up on the 13th row next to Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola. Grala will line up on the 16th row, Bilicki will line up on the 17th row, and Said will start his race on the 19th row.

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