Justin Allgaier will have a chance to battle for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he will have to do it without his regular crew chief.
Jason Burdett was fined $10,000 and suspended from being at the Ford EcoBoost 300 after the No. 7 Chevrolet will found in violation of Section 126.96.36.199 Rear Brake Cooling Assembly I-1b. I-1c. I-2d. I-2f of the 2017 NASCAR Rulebook following Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway. The rule states “rear brake cooling assemblies must be sealed from air inlet to exhaust,” and Allgaier’s car had an unattached brake cooling hose.
The team was also penalized 10 driver and owner points, which did not remove Allgaier from the Championship 4 as his gap over Cole Custer exceeded 10 points. Additionally, NASCAR has listed the finish as being encumbered.
Allgaier qualified for the Championship 4 following a 10th-place finish in the Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway, giving him 10 top-fives and 17 top-10’s on the season. He will hope to beat out his JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and William Byron, along with Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric for the title.
Although NASCAR normally waits until later in the week to announce penalties once they are done the extended inspection at their Research and Development Center, Allgaier’s infraction was released sooner to give the team a chance to appeal the penalty, if warranted. If JR Motorsports elects to appeal, it will be expedited so it can be heard prior to this weekend’s event.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened to a JR Motorsports driver in a title situation, as Sadler ran the final event last year without Kevin Meendering atop the pit box due to a penalty. Ultimately, the veteran came up short, finishing third while Daniel Suarez won the race and the championship.
JR Motorsports announced on Tuesday that the team will not appeal the penalty, with car chief Billy Wilburn serving as the interim crew chief.
“We’re fortunate to be in a position where we have such a strong support staff at JR Motorsports,” said general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller. “There are a number of talented individuals that could fill this role, but ultimately it makes the most sense to utilize Billy in this capacity. He’s an experienced leader, well-respected, and has a detailed knowledge of this team. We’re lucky to have him and are completely confident in the team’s abilities this weekend.”
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