It was only a matter of time.
Just a few days after NASCAR re-implemented rules requiring teams to
install all five lug nuts on each wheel, the sanctioning body handed down a P3
penalty to crew chief Adam Stevens, after discovering missing lug nuts on the winning
No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Busch following last Saturday
night’s GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Stevens was fined $20,000, suspended from all NASCAR
Series Championship point-counting events through May 18 and put on NASCAR
probation through Dec. 31 for violating sections 12:1 (actions detrimental to
stock car racing), 10.11.3 (pit road equipment) and 18.104.22.168.1 (which outlines
the P3-level penalty) of the NASCAR Rule Book. In addition to Stevens, front tire changer Josh Leslie was suspended through
May 18 and put on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.
Gibbs Racing has confirmed that it will not appeal the penalty. In a written statement,
the team said it utilized “unaltered, stock lug nuts during Saturday night’s
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway and each wheel had all five
lug nuts attached to the wheel at the conclusion of the race. The team
does acknowledge that not all lug nuts were tightened to the wheel.”
NASCAR also issued written warnings to the No.
43 and No. 78 teams Sprint Cup Series teams for failing pre-qualifying laser
inspection twice, and the No. 7, 43, 47 and 48 teams for failing pre-qualifying
template inspection twice.