Logano's tire specialist suspended for Martinsville fight

A tire specialist with NASCAR driver Joey Logano’s team was suspended one race for his involvement in a pit road altercation at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Sunday evening.

Logano's tire specialist suspended for Martinsville fight
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Freight
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Freight
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil

On Monday afternoon, NASCAR announced it had suspended Logano’s tire specialist, Dave Nichols Jr., for one race.

He was found in violation of Section 12.8.1.C of the 2019 NASCAR Rule Book, a behavioral penalty that addresses “member-to-member confrontation with physical violence.”

Logano and Denny Hamlin had a discussion on pit road following Sunday’s First Data 500 regarding an on-track incident between the two drivers that left Logano with a flat tire with less than 50 laps remaining in the race.

As Logano turned to leave the discussion, he made an open-hand jab to Hamlin’s arm which Hamlin did not appreciate. Hamlin tried to follow after Logano until crew members from both teams got involved trying to keep them separated.

In the process, Nichols appeared to tackle Hamlin from behind in a horse-collar like fashion, taking him to the ground.

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“We know emotions are going to run high, especially at this time of the season. We don’t encourage it, but we know the drivers are going to address each other after the race when they have an incident,” NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“Then unfortunately, instead of breaking up a fight, I think what we saw was an aggressive move by a crew member. I think in this case, you have a crew member who was maybe trying to break it up, but certainly an aggressive move we viewed on our part.”

In a video of the incident posted by NBC Sports, Nichols is the Penske member in the bright red shirt that is shown at the 36-second mark dragging Hamlin down from behind.

 

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