Aric Almirola, crew chief take penalty hits after ‘Dega
As expected, NASCAR penalized Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday because the team’s No. 43 Ford failed to pass NASCAR’s Laser Inspection Station on Sunday, following Aric Almirola’s fourth-place finish in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Almirola’s crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, was suspended for three races and fined $65,000. As part of the penalty, Almirola was docked 35 driver points and the team lost 35 owner points.
The penalties for the infraction are identical to ones handed out earlier this year to Team Penske after the Phoenix race, when Brad Keselowski’s car did not pass LIS.
Prior to the penalty, Almirola was ranked 17th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings.
The violation fell under NASCAR Rule Book Sections 188.8.131.52.2 Post-Race General
Inspection Measurements. Per NASCAR’s penalty report, Almirola’s car failed the post-race rear wheel steer on the LIS. Almirola’s finish is encumbered per Section 12.10 Encumbered Race Finishes.
RPM can appeal the penalty. Team Penske appealed its penalty, but lost both its initial appeal and its final appeal.
Wednesday afternoon, RPM issued a statement attributed to the team’s director of competition, Philippe Lopez. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will continue to work to get the most out of our race cars every week while maintaining the NASCAR rulebook,” said Lopez. “We look forward to Kansas this weekend.”
There was one other penalty handed out at Talladega. Ken Davis, crew chief for Elliott Sadler and Tommy Baldwin’s No. 7 Chevrolet, was fined $10,000 for lug nut(s) improperly installed.