The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team will be without two of their crew members for the next pair of races following a suspension issued by NASCAR on Tuesday. The penalties come as a result of the crew’s role in a loose wheel incident involving Martin Truex Jr. at Auto Club Speedway.
The race at Auto Club Speedway had shown signs of promise for Truex, who managed to keep himself in the top five on the grid during the early portion of the 400-mile race. Truex would unfortunately be kicked to the back of the field for equipment interference during the first stop, after pitting in fourth place. That penalty was issued after one of the JGR team’s tires rolled into a rival pit box. Truex would manage to get himself back in the top ten spots after a bit of wheeling, but the problems just kept coming. After leaving pit road later in the race, the left-front wheel of the No. 19 separated from the bodywork. NASCAR doesn’t take kindly to loose wheels anywhere near the track. Truex was issued a two-lap penalty for the incident, though he was ultimately able to drive his way to an 11th-place finish after getting the laps back.
While that alone is not the result Truex was anticipating early in the night, the penalties didn’t stop there. Per NASCAR rules, two crew members are also slated to be suspended for the next two races. These crew members are confirmed as tire changer Danny Olszowy and jackman Kellen Mills. Had this incident taken place last year, the crew chief would also be facing a four-race penalty, but the 2023 rule adjustment keeps the damage to a minimum for JRG. NASCAR was not required to dole out any additional penalties across either the Cup or Xfinity Series field of teams following the race.
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