Seven Cup Series teams have received penalties ahead of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. NASCAR ejected multiple crew members after five of the entries failed inspection twice and two failed three times.
The Cup Series entries went through pre-race inspection on April 1 prior to the practice and qualifying sessions on April 2. The No. 31 entry of Justin Haley failed three times, meaning that he lost a crew member and will not be able to post a qualifying lap. He will start at the rear of the 37-car field and the team will not have the opportunity to select a pit stall. Haley will also have to serve a pass-through penalty at the start of the race.
The No. 44 of Greg Biffle was a late addition to the penalty report. The entry failed inspection three times, sending him to the rear of the field, taking away the pit stall selection, and forcing Biffle to serve a pass-through penalty. Biffle also had a member of his crew ejected.
The No. 17 of Chris Buescher, the No. 16 of AJ Allmendinger, the No. 3 of Austin Dillon, the No. 47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and the No. 23 of Bubba Wallace all failed two times. They will all be able to qualify, but each team lost a crew member and the ability to select a pit stall.
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The Toyota Owners 400 will take place on Sunday, April 3. FOX will provide coverage at 3:30 p.m. ET with Mike Joy, Clint Bowyer, and Chad Knaus in the booth. They will call the action as the drivers complete 400 laps.
Wallace Will Miss Multiple Crew Members
The driver of the No. 23 will enter the race weekend without four key members of the team. He will not have a crew member after failing inspection twice at Richmond Raceway. He will also compete in the race without his crew chief atop the pit box and two other members on the other side of the pit road wall.
NASCAR announced on March 29 that the No. 23 team had violated Sections 10.5.2.6 of the NASCAR Rule Book: Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle. As a result, crew chief Robert “Bootie” Barker, jackman Caleb Dirks, and rear-tire changer Adam Riley would all miss the next four points-paying events.
Wallace will now take on Richmond Raceway for only the eighth time in his Cup Series career, and he will do so without multiple key members of his team. He will strive to contend for the win at the short track after posting a career-best finish of 12th overall during the second 2019 race.
Haley’s Season Has Featured Consistent Performances
The 2022 Cup Series season is Haley’s first as a full-time driver, and he has the goal of taking Kaulig Racing to the playoffs. He is currently below the cutline with 121 points, but he has finished every points-paying race while driving the No. 31.
Haley has performed consistently during the 2022 season by finishing inside of the top 25 in every race. He posted back-to-back 23rd-place finishes in the Daytona 500 and the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway before kicking off a run of four inside the top 20.
The trip to the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway served as Haley’s best performance of the year. He qualified 22nd overall before racing his way to an 11th-place finish. He moved to 21st in the championship standings and then remained in that position after a 15th-place finish at Circuit of the Americas.