NASCAR Issues Major Penalties to 2 Cup Series Teams

Kaulig Racing

Getty Justin Haley's pit crew changes tires during a stop.

The sanctioning body has issued some significant penalties to two NASCAR Cup Series teams. The No. 50 team of TMT Racing and the No. 31 team of Kaulig Racing both received penalties after losing a wheel each during the Daytona 500.

NASCAR announced the news on February 23. The sanctioning body suspended several crew members for safety violations. The No. 31 team will not have crew chief Trent Owens and crew members Jacob Nelson (front changer) and Marshall McFadden (jackman) for the next four points-paying events.

NASCAR also suspended crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and crew members Chris Zima (jackman) and Aaron Powell (rear changer) from the No. 50 team. They will miss the next four points-paying events. Though the team will likely not attempt to qualify for these races.

ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on NASCAR Newsletter!

According to the NASCAR press release, the two teams violated Sections of the NASCAR Rule Book: Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle with the note: Loss of tire/wheel during the event.

The Incidents Brought Out 2 Separate Cautions

The first caution of the Crown Jewel race occurred after Grala lost his wheel on Lap 41. It went bouncing down the track while several drivers tried to avoid a collision, but two made contact with each other. Chase Briscoe checked up in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, but rookie Austin Cindric hit him from behind and sent him spinning toward the infield grass.

The race went green once again on Lap 46 with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano leading the field. The Cup Series drivers continued to battle for the best position on the superspeedway, but another caution flag flew on Lap 53.

Haley was the reason for the second caution of the day. He lost the right front wheel on the No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro and he had to go back to pit road for repairs. Several other drivers used the opportunity to stop for fresh tires and fuel so they could contend for the Stage 1 win.

Haley Will Make His First Start at Auto Club Speedway

While Grala and TMT Racing will not take part in the next four points-paying events, Haley will move forward with his first full-time schedule. He will head to Auto Club Speedway for the first time without his crew chief atop the pit box.

The driver of the No. 31 has never competed at the two-mile California track, so there will be an increased level of difficulty as he prepares for the Cup Series race. Though he will have the benefit of practice and qualifying sessions to prepare for the first race at Auto Club Speedway since the 2020 season.

Haley has experience at the three other races that make up the suspension schedule. He has made two starts each at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway with a best finish of 24th at Phoenix in the spring 2021 race. However, he and all of the Cup Series drivers will have to adjust to the reconfigured AMS.

READ NEXT: Josh Berry Adds a New Partner for 4 Races

Read More