Larson to start at the rear due to steering changes, that plus others failed inspection

Ricky Stenhouse Jr didn’t even make a qualifying attempt on Saturday after making an engine change on his No. 47 Chevrolet following practice. His car was in the top six of his group too.

He will have company in the back though.

Kyle Larson will drop to the rear of the field ahead of the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Hendrick Motorsports tweeted following Saturday’s qualifying session.

Larson, the most recent winner at Phoenix and defending Cup Series champion, was battling a steering issue despite qualifying seventh. That’s the second time in the last three weeks he dropped to the rear. He did so in Fontana too and won in the end.

Also, 9 NASCAR Cup Series teams lost a crew member and pit selection too after failing pre-qualifying inspection twice on Saturday morning.

The No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Tyler Reddick, the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford of Garrett Smithley, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Christopher Bell, the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford of Todd Gilliland, the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Cole Custer, the No. 42 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet of Ty Dillon, the No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet of Erik Jones and the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet of Landon Cassill were the teams with the inspection infractions.

Car chief David Alexander (No. 8 RCR Chevrolet), car chief Robert Valentinsen (No. 15 RWR Ford), car chief Nate Bellows (No. 18 JGR Toyota), car chief Chris Sherwood (No. 20 JGR Toyota), engineer Tony Raker (No. 38 Front Row Ford), car chief Tony Cardamone (No. 41 SHR Ford), car chief Cam Strader (No. 42 Petty GMS Chevrolet), engineer Danny Efland (No. 43 Petty GMS Chevrolet) and car chief JR Norris (No. 77 Spire Chevrolet) were the crew members ejected.

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