NASCAR is making an example of the No. 18 car driven by Kyle Busch in its new crackdown on securing all five lug nuts per wheel. The No. 18 crew chief was fined $20,000, and both he and the front tire changer were suspended through May 18, forcing them to miss the next race at Dover International Speedway.
Kyle Busch won last weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway, but rumors were flying afterwards that Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing crew may not have tightened every lug nuts, per Motorsport.com. Today, NASCAR announced that they discovered an infraction with the No. 18's lug nuts in a post-race inspection.
In addition to their immediate penalties, Crew Chief Adam Stevens and front tire changer Josh Leslie will remain on probation with NASCAR until the end of the year.
Honestly, I’d rather see that $20,000 fine make its way back to Tony Stewart, who was fined $35,000 for pointing out the safety issue caused by teams not securing all five lug nuts. Given that NASCAR acted on Stewart’s words, it’s ridiculous that his fine still stands.
The Sprint Cup Drivers’ Council offered to pay Smoke’s nonsense fine, but he asked them to donate their $35,000 to the Autism Delaware charity instead, per Fox Sports.
So, if all else fails, NASCAR should put these lug nut fines to something useful. The $35,000 alone could buy over 40 “ran when parked” Porsche 944s from Craigslist. You could put every driver in a beater of questionable provenance so they can duke it out on track.
This would also solve the issue of the Sprint Cup All-Star Race format changing all the time. If the usual format is so predictable that it needs a mandatory late-race pit stop to shake things up this year, just make it a beater race and let spilled coolant and thrown rods work their magic.