NASCAR announced the penalties on April 22 and noted that the No. 77 Spire Motorsports entry of Landon Cassill received the harshest penalties. The entry failed inspection three times, resulting in the ejection of car chief JR Norris, the loss of pit selection, and the loss of a qualifying lap. Cassill, who will start at the rear of the field, will also have to serve a pass-through penalty at the earliest opportunity after the green flag waves.
The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing entry of Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing entry of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. both failed inspection two times. The No. 19 lost engineer Nick Burton for the superspeedway race while the No. 47 team lost car chief Travis Young. Both teams were able to qualify, but they lost their pit stall selections.
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Truex Will Pursue His First Superspeedway Win
The failed inspection resulting in the loss of a crew member was not an ideal start to Truex’s weekend, especially considering that he enters the weekend winless at superspeedways. He has made a combined 68 starts at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, but he has not yet reached Victory Lane.
The 2017 Cup Series champion has come close to capturing the elusive checkered flag at both superspeedways. This stat line includes runner-up finishes in the 2016 Daytona 500 and 2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400. Truex’s best runs at Talladega Superspeedway are a pair of fifth-place finishes (2006, 2015).
The failed inspections will not put Truex at an early disadvantage at Talladega. He will have the opportunity to pursue his first career superspeedway win from the front of the pack. He posted the second-fastest time lap during qualifying, so he will line up next to teammate Christopher Bell at the start of the Geico 500.
Stenhouse Will Have To Make Up Ground
Cassill and Truex will start at opposite ends of the grid, but Stenhouse will begin his day right in the middle of the action. The driver of the No. 47 will line up on the 13th row next to rookie Harrison Burton after posting the 26th-fastest lap time at 53.802 seconds.
Stenhouse has past success at the 2.66-mile track considering that he has a win from the 2017 season and five other top-five finishes. He has started near the front of the pack for the majority of these performances, but two required him to navigate his way through the field and avoid incidents.
Stenhouse’s second trip to Talladega Superspeedway took place during the 2013 season. He started 21st overall before racing his way to a third-place finish behind Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fast-forward to the 2020 season, and Stenhouse lined up 20th overall for the Geico 500. He avoided multiple incidents before finishing a mere .007 seconds behind winner Ryan Blaney in one of the wildest finishes of the year.