NASCAR has announced penalties for members of driver Denny Hamlin’s crew following a mishap prior to Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR suspended three members of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 team for four Cup Series point races through June 10 after pieces of lead ballast came loose from Hamlin’s car during pace laps on Sunday. The debris had to be cleaned up before the race began.
Crew chief Chris Gabehart, car chief Brandon Griffeth and engineer Scott Simmons are the parties being punished for the safety violation. According to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, Gibbs Racing will not appeal the penalty. Sam McAulay will step in as Hamlin’s crew chief for the next four races, with Eric Phillips serving as car chief.
Hamlin was supposed to start 13th when the incident happened. However, as a result of the mistake, he had to start the race on pit road and ultimately finished in 29th place.
Brad Keselowski ultimately won the race for his first career victory at the Coca-Cola 600.
NEWS: NASCAR suspends crew members for No. 11 Cup Series team for four races.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 25, 2020
NASCAR cracked down on Hamlin’s crew for the mishap with the ballast because of how dangerous a situation the lost tungsten weight could create if it is struck by a car traveling at full speed. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and no one was injured.
Despite not having his usual team with him, Hamlin and his fill-ins will race in the Alsco 500k at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday.