NASCAR: Austin Cindric Penalized Following Loose Wheel at Ambetter 301

by Jonathan Howard

NASCAR driver Austin Cindric and his team are going to be penalized for the next four races after a loose wheel at the Ambetter 301. Back in Atlanta, it was Christopher Bell who lost a wheel on pit road. However, this situation was a little different. The rules say if it happens on the track, it’s automatic suspensions. However, pit road is up to discretion.

Ultimately, NASCAR decided that the loose wheel did in fact cause issues on pit road as it rolled through several pit boxes. Different situations, different outcomes. This means that Austin Cindric will be without his Team Penske crew chief Jeremy Bullins. Curtis Thompson, the front changer, and Patrick Gray, the jackman will also serve a four-race suspension.

Austin Cindric Faces Four Race Penalty

NASCAR has been very serious about this issue. They want pit crews and teams to know that these things just can’t happen. When those cars leave pit road, or even the box – things need to be secured. Loose wheels cause all kinds of safety issues, especially if it ends up happening at 185 MPH or so.

Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports had the news.

You can see exactly what happens as Austin Cindric loses the wheel in the video below. When Bell lost his wheel, it didn’t get in the way of other drivers. It went about two or three boxes down and then fell. However, you can then see the difference with Cindric. The wheel comes off and actually gets in front of another driver leaving his pit box.

Right now, as long as the number of winners doesn’t increase too much this season, Cindric is in the playoffs. He’s 13th in the standings and has a win on the season. He opened the season with a massive Daytona 500 win. The rookie has had a quiet season since then. Cindric has notched two more top 5 finishes, but there’s more there.

Better Luck at the Tricky Triangle?

While Austin Cindric has been patient since his lone win on the season, he’s still having a great rookie year. He is the first true rookie to win the Daytona 500. That’s history already. Still, with that behind him, the former 2020 Xfinity Series champion would like to compete for a Cup Series title as well. He’s been gaining momentum as of late.

Could Pocono and the Tricky Triangle be the next step in that journey? Since his 34th place DNF at the Coca-Cola 600, Cindric has been great. He’s placed 11th, fifth, seventh, seventh, third, and 13th since that race in Charlotte. Almost any driver, outside of three or four at the top of the standings would take that stretch.

Let’s see what happens in Pennslyvania. Cindric might just surprise people again.