THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also visits the famed Indy oval this weekend for Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250. Saturday’s race will be the final Dash 4 Cash race of the season offering four drivers the opportunity to win a one-hundred-thousand dollar bonus. For Ty Dillon it also is an opportunity to lock himself into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase should he win the Dash 4 Cash by virtue of winning the bonus at Richmond. Winning the race would also snap a sixty-four race winless streak stringing back to his first series victory at Indianapolis in 2014. He will be up against tough competition, not only from the series regulars but also six Sprint Cup Series drivers who will be pulling double duty. Those drivers are Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Busch, who was able to sweep the weekend last year.
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Sprint Cup Teams Test At Indianapolis
A number of NASCAR Sprint Cup teams took part in a two-day organizational test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. The test was in advance of the Crown Royal presents the Wounded Warrior Coalition 400 to be held on July 24. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick were among those at the test that were consistently fast in each of the sessions. Two sessions were held on Tuesday, with teams working through the lunch break Wednesday due to a threat of weather in the area. Matt Kenseth who was second quickest in the opening session on Tuesday noted that the tire fall off was significant with the new lower downforce package being used this season and expected that fall off to translate to good racing. Others taking part in the test included Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Brian Scott, Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. AJ Allmendinger and his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team were originally scheduled to attend the test, but following two incidents on Saturday night in Kentucky that injured Allmendinger’s hand, the team passed on attending the test. Allmendinger has been cleared to return to NASCAR competition following an X-ray on Monday.
Three Crew Chiefs Suspended
Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs were fined and suspended with Brian Pattie getting hit the hardest with a two-race suspension and a $50,000 fine.
Pattie, crew chief for Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team, which was also assessed with the loss of 15 championship owner and 15 championship driver points, was issued a P3 penalty after violating sections 12-1; 20.4.1; 20.4.2 a,b,c; 126.96.36.199.1 c of the NASCAR Rule Book – illegal body measurements.
With the penalty, Biffle drops from 23rd to 24th in the standings.
Randall Burnett (crew chief for AJ Allmendinger) and Tony Gibson (crew chief for Kurt Busch) were each suspended one race (P3) and fined $20,000 after violating 10.11.3.4 a of the Rule Book, which states: “All tires, and wheels, and all five lug nuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the Event.”
All three crew chiefs were placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, including Tony Stewart’s crew chief Mike Bugarewicz after he was issued a P2 penalty for violating sections 20.4 b; 20. 4.2 a; 12.1; 188.8.131.52.2 d of the Rule Book in pre-race inspection – body design and surface conformance.
NASCAR also issued written warnings in Wednesday’s Penalty Report to the team’s of Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Menard will lose 15 minutes of practice time at Pocono Raceway after the team failed template inspection three times in pre-qualifying.
Pearn Suspended, Will Appeal
Cole Pearn, Sprint Cup Series crew chief on Martin Truex Jr.’s Number 78 Furniture Row Racing team, has been suspended for one race and fined fifty thousand dollars for an unspecified pre-race inspection violation last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team has been docked fifteen championship owner and driver points. Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, said in a statement that the team will appeal Wednesday’s penalties. Pearn’s one-race suspension and his fine will be deferred until the conclusion of the appeal process.
Randall Burnett, Sprint Cup Series crew chief on A-J Allmendinger’s Number-47 JTG Daugherty Racing team, was fined fifteen thousand dollars for a pre-qualifying inspection violation. The team has been docked ten championship owner and driver points … Similar penalties were also assessed to crew chiefs for the teams of Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell … A total of eighteen teams across all three of NASCAR’s top national series were assessed penalties or given written warnings for rule violations last weekend in Atlanta.
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