Photo: Alan Marler for Chevy Racing

Larson Penalized for Kentucky Infractions, Loses Crew Chief for Three Races

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

Kyle Larson left Kentucky Speedway last Saturday night with a runner-up finish and the points lead in hand, but on Wednesday afternoon, a penalty from NASCAR wiped all of that away as his team was hammered for a Level 1 violation found in post-race inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center.

Larson failed to make a qualifying run for last weekend’s race, causing him to have to start the race from the back of the pack, but he was able to rebound all the way up to second place by the time the checkered flag flew.

However, after the race, NASCAR found issues with the rear brake cooling assembly, as the team’s configuration went against Section 20.4.h and Section of the rule book, which states that “Ductwork or other devices are not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.”

As a result, crew chief Chad Johnston has been fined $75,000 and suspended for the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at New Hampshire, Indianapolis, and Pocono. Larson’s finish was also ruled as encumbered and the team was docked 35 driver and owner points, dropping Larson from the points lead with a one-point advantage over Martin Truex, Jr. to second place, 34 points in arears.

Shortly after the news dropped, Chip Ganassi Racing tweeted a one sentence statement stating they would not be appealing the penalty.

No mention was made on who would serve as Larson’s interim crew chief for the three races that Johnston is suspended.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.