The No. 77 Spire Motorsports team crew chief, Kevin Bellicourt was handed a suspension for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol. The reasoning for Bellicourt’s suspension was two unsecured lug nuts after last week’s race at Richmond. But on Wednesday, Spire Motorsports gave a compelling reason why the car had two unsecured lug nuts.
The team had two wheel studs BREAK OFF, which made it impossible for them to get all of the lug nuts secured on their last pit stop of the race.
Joey Dennewitz, Spire’s Team Manager, revealed the part break that led to the suspension of their crew chief via a tweet on Wednesday.
The 77 had two wheel studs break off which resulted in two lug nuts missing. While not malicious, an unfortunate parts failure cost us $20k. I’d say Kevin is looking forward to single lugs next year… https://t.co/SQnP6qz09h
— Joseph Dennewitz (@Spinnawitz) September 15, 2021
NASCAR will move to a single lug nut in the center of the wheel next season with the Next Gen car. As a result, we’ll certainly have less of the lug nut fines and issues involving lug nuts like the Kevin Bellicourt suspension.
Who Steps in As No. 77 Crew Chief at Bristol?
In place of Bellicourt this weekend on the pit box will be Peter Sospenzo.
Sospenzo is a long-time grizzled veteran crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series. The 64-year old native of New York has four NASCAR Cup Series wins in his career as a crew chief. And Sospenzo served as a crew chief on the Rick Ware Racing team recently, but mid-2021 Spire Motorsports brought Sospenzo over to head up the team’s development on the Next Gen car.
Going into this weekend’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol, the No. 77 team sits 30th in the NCS owner standings.
The No. 77 team’s best finish of 2021 was a sixth-place effort at Daytona with Justin Haley behind the wheel. The No. 77 team has recorded a total of three top-10 finishes in 2021.