Penalties shake up Cup Series starting order in Las Vegas

Image by Harrelson/LAT

Penalties shake up Cup Series starting order in Las Vegas

NASCAR

Penalties shake up Cup Series starting order in Las Vegas

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NASCAR has handed down multiple penalties in the Cup Series garage at Las Vegas.

The teams of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell have each been issued an L1 penalty with the loss of 10 driver and owner points. All three drivers will be credited with their original starting positions but will have to drop to the rear of the field for the start of the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday afternoon.

Busch was slated to start from the pole with Hamlin starting fourth and Bell 22nd.

NASCAR cited “surface conformance” issues with the noses of all three Toyotas in pre-race inspection Saturday. These infractions are separate from the problems before practice on Friday when Busch, Hamlin, Bell, Erik Jones, and Martin Truex Jr. were all docked 15 minutes.

“It is kind of concerning,” said Busch about how his car has performed so far this weekend. “We rolled out there first in final practice, and I was wide open for 15, 16 straight laps. Kevin Harvick started probably a half straightaway behind me, and he ran me down and he ran the fastest lap average in those laps he was running me down. My laps were only 15th on average, and he was first, but then he couldn’t pass me –- he couldn’t do anything to pass.

“I don’t know what that says for the race and what’s going to happen in the race. We were definitely not as fast as we wanted to be and the car was not driving near what it needed to when we got back in traffic. It was a real handful. We’re going to have our work cut out for us, too (by dropping to the rear).”

Chase Elliott also had his car chief ejected after the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection twice.

Garrett Smithley will also have to drop to the rear of the field Sunday in addition to his car chief being ejected. Smithley’s No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection three times. He will also lose 30 minutes of practice next weekend.

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