NASCAR announced three big penalties from Darlington, but a fourth one revealed wasn’t as surprising as the others. After the completion of last Sunday’s Southern 500, NASCAR found two loose lugnuts on Dale Earnhardt Jr’s No. 88 Chevrolet. In return, NASCAR announced penalties on Wednesday and that the Hendrick Motorsports team was handed a safety violation for lug nuts not properly installed following Earnhardt’s 22nd-place finish.
Because of that, crew chief Greg Ives was fined $20,000 and suspended from the next race. That means that Earnhardt Jr. won’t have his crew chief for this weekend’s race at the Richmond Raceway. That’s a big loss as Earnhardt has to win in order to make it into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. He’s currently 22nd in the standings, 303 points out of the final wildcard spot.
He will have Travis Mack on top of his pit box for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN). Earnhardt, has just one top five all season long and will need to double that total this weekend in Richmond and get to victory lane in the process.
Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal the penalty, according to a team statement.