Ryan Blaney will have a full complement of team members for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN). Earlier this week, NASCAR announced that they would be without crew chief Jonathan Hassler, and pit-crew members Zachary Price (rear-tire changer) and Graham Stoddard (jack) for their role in Blaney’s tire falling off during a pit stop during last Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race in Bristol.
While those suspensions were set to start this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and end after the Oct. 16 event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the organization instead elected to appeal the penalty which will now give Blaney his full crew this weekend.
It’s a risk in the fact that in the event that they lose their appeal, the 4 races will still have to be served, which also means that they will also would lose them from Talladega through Homestead instead.
Talladega isn’t much of a loss since pit calls/strategy won’t dictate Blaney’s fate there, but it could creep into as much as 2 races or even the whole round in the Round of 8 depending on when the appeal is heard and how long it takes for a decision.
That puts some pressure on them as far as going out to win on Sunday which stamps his name into the Round of 8 already. At that point, they face the tough decision to keep the appeal or just drop in knowing that they’re already advancing on and that 1 of the 4 races in the suspension is Talladega.
You don’t want to risk Talladega not being a part of the suspension because that’s the one that it truly doesn’t matter for.
However, you also could win the appeal. Jeremy Clements won his appeal from his Daytona penalty and the fact that some leeway in a similar manner was already given earlier this year, maybe they could wint his case.
Austin Cindric was penalized in New Hampshire for a similar case. A week prior Christopher Bell wasn’t for his tire also going down pit road in Atlanta. NASCAR said Bell’s wheel didn’t impact others.
One could say while Blaney’s tire rolling down pit lane and landing in Austin Dillon’s pit box is dangerous, it also didn’t interfere with any pit stops either.