In NASCAR, suspensions such as those given to the Corey LaJoie Cup team aren’t unusual. That said, whenever it happens, it can still feel a little jarring, both to fans and drivers.
Beneath everything on the track, however, is the NASCAR Rule Book. Each racing series has its own Rule Book, but each one is full of strict rules and regulations that every driver must follow. Or face the consequences.
When rules are broken, disqualifications, suspensions, and other penalties are handed down. And unfortunately for NASCAR driver Corey LaJoie, a violation in Phoenix resulted in heavy suspensions for his team.
During Stage 1 of the Ruoff Mortgage 500 in Phoenix, Arizona, Corey LaJoie hit the wall and lost a wheel. After completing only 45 of the 312 laps, Corey LaJoie had no choice but to accept a DNF result and last place in the race.
NASCAR Post-Race Inspection Resulted in Suspensions for Corey LaJoie Cup Team
The race-ending wreck caused NASCAR to suspend crew chief Ryan Sparks and crew members Blaine Anderson and Allen Hollman for four championship events. The reasoning behind the suspension was a violation of Section 10.5.2.6 of the NASCAR Rule Book. It states, “Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.”
Unsurprisingly, Corey LaJoie is unhappy with the ruling. In an interview with SiriusXM, LaJoie voiced his frustrations. “We’re still trying to figure out what happened,” LaJoie said. “Because it’s a big blow to us if NASCAR lays the hammer down. The rule was put in place to deter the crew chiefs from hitting three lug nuts, or two lug nuts, on the money stop.”
After losing a wheel at @phoenixraceway, @CoreyLaJoie tells @DanielleTrotta on #SXMOnTrack that suspending a crew chief for a lost wheel is a rule that needs to be reevaluated. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/IR85o9vdWp— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) March 15, 2022
“There was way too many penalties and way too many conversations we had about lug nuts, cutting threads, lug lengths, and all this stuff that teams were fooling around with trying to find two, three-tenths [of a second] during a pit stop,” the No. 7 driver continued. “The rule was made to deter crew chiefs from telling the tire changers to hit three and send it because it made the pit stop a second faster.”