Ryan Blaney’s playoff drive gets tougher with crew suspensions

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On Tuesday, NASCAR issued penalties to Team Penske after Ryan Blaney’s #12 Ford Mustang lost a wheel during last weekend’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Officials handed suspensions to Blaney’s crew chief Jonathan Hassler and pit-crew members Zachary Price (rear-tire changer) and Graham Stoddard (jackman) for the next four races.

The suspension of the three crew members means things will get tougher for Ryan Blaney, who is yet to score his first official win of the season. Despite a loose wheel issue, Blaney managed to advance into the next round of the 2022 playoffs and currently stands 8th in the playoff standings.

The first race of the Round of 12 will be held at Texas Motor Speedway, where he won the All-Star Race earlier this season. This will definitely work as a confidence booster for Blaney in the absence of the crew. But losing a crew chief and two crew members in the middle of the playoff races will be a huge blow for him.

On Twitter, Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass confirmed the news by posting:

“Blaney crew chief Jonathan Hassler suspended four races as have crew members Graham Stoddard (jackman) and Zachary Price (rear changer) for wheel coming off at Bristol. It is the only penalty from the Bristol weekend.”

Blaney crew chief Jonathan Hassler suspended four races as have crew members Graham Stoddard (jackman) and Zachary Price (rear changer) for wheel coming off at Bristol. It is the only penalty from the Bristol weekend.

The penalties fall under Section 10.5.2.6 in the NASCAR Rule Book, which penalizes teams for the loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.


Ryan Blaney lost the left-front wheel during Stage 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway

The incident took place when Ryan Blaney headed to pit road during Stage 1 at the Bristol Motor Speedway for a new tire. As he left his pit box, the left-front wheel came off from his #12 Ford and rolled into Austin Dillon’s pit. The 28-year-old, however, was able to fix the issue, but it kept him out of contention for his first win of the season. He finished 30th.

The #12 Team Penske will be without a crew chief and crew members for the next four races at Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The respective members of the team will be eligible to return on October 23 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Team Penske, however, will not appeal the penalty and has not determined who will fill Hassler’s role for the next four Cup Series races. This marks the 13th occasion of the 2022 season when a team has been suspended due to tire loss issues on the Next Gen car.

Ryan Blaney returns next week to Texas Motor Speedway for Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, September 25, 2022.







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