NASCAR: Penalties Issued to Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Crew Following Loose Wheel at Bristol

by Jonathan Howard

Ryan Blaney still remains winless, but he’s in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12. Things will get tougher with these new penalties, though. All season there has been one line drawn in the sand as far as NASCAR is concerned – no loose wheels. There is one lug now versus five in the past, and it’s caused some issues.

Some may be wondering how this happens after so many months of training and race experience in the Next Gen car. What happens most of the time, is the jack is lowered too soon. This allows the tire to make contact with the ground, making it harder to tighten the wheel securely.

Pit stops take just seconds, so things like this can happen without anyone noticing. Until it’s too late that is.

NASCAR is penalizing the Team Penske No. 12 crew with the usual punishments. Three team members will be suspended for four races! That includes crew chief Jonathan Hassler, as well as the right-rear tire changer Zachary Price, and the jackman Graham Stoddard. These suspensions will end after the Las Vegas race.

For Ryan Blaney and his team, this is a hard pill to swallow. You don’t want to lose your crew chief and two of the most important crew members in the midst of a playoff run. Blaney still has not taken a checkered flag this season. So, will he be able to shake this off and focus on Texas?

If we go back to the All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Blaney was the one who took the win and the $1,000,000 prize. But, will that translate to a Cup Series Playoffs race?

Ryan Blaney Will Focus on Task Ahead at Texas

There really isn’t much else you can do in this situation. You have to take it in stride and keep the wheel moving literally and figuratively. A lot of teams have been able to perform well while under penalties like this in 2022. However, it’s different this time of the year. It’s the playoffs. This is the Round of 12. Each lap counts at this point.

Ryan Blaney made it into the playoffs by just three points over Martin Truex Jr. So, he knows how close these eliminations and things can be. With that in mind, will the No. 12 find itself running up front on Sunday? A good performance this week could mean making it into the Round of 8.