Well, it looks as though the sage of ‘improperly secured wheel’ penalties will be an ongoing theme throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, the second year of utilizing a single-lug wheel.
On Tuesday, NASCAR handed down two-race suspensions to Joe Gibbs Racing crew members Danny Olszowy and Kellen Mills, after the No. 19 Toyota Camry TRD lost a wheel on-track during Sunday’s Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
According to NASCAR’s Penalty Report, the loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle during the event is a violation of Sections 188.8.131.52.C.
Olszowy, a rear tire changer for the No. 19, will be replaced by Michael Louria for the next two NASCAR Cup Series events at Las Vegas and Phoenix, while Mills, the jackman on the No. 19, will be replaced by David O’Dell.
In the opening two races of 2023, Louria served as the rear tire changer for the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro fielded by LEGACY MOTOR CLUB. Meanwhile, O’Dell served as jackman of the No. 67 for 23XI Racing in the 2023 Daytona 500.
LEGACY MOTOR CLUB has tapped Austin Maloney to serve as rear tire changer of the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in Louria’s absence over the next two weekends. Maloney has yet to pit a NASCAR National Series event in 2023.
The infraction is the first to be unloaded on a NASCAR Cup Series team after the sanctioning body elected to tweak the punishment over the off-season, aiming to shrink the long-term ramifications of the penalty.
Should a vehicle lose a wheel on track, the suspension has been reduced from four to two weeks, and no longer includes the crew chief. However, the new in-race element of the penalty forces the offender to be held on the pit road for two laps.