Ryan Blaney’s playoff drive gets tougher with crew suspensions

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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On Tuesday, NASCAR issued penalties to Team Penske after Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Mustang lost a wheel during last weekend’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Officials issued suspensions to Blaney 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 all three crew members means things will get tough for Ryan Blaney, who has yet to earn his first official win of the season. Despite a loose wheel issue, Blaney managed to qualify for the next round of the 2022 playoffs and currently sits 8th in the playoff standings.

The first race of the Round of 16 will be at Texas Motor Speedway, where he won the All-Star Race earlier this season. It 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 elimination races will be a blow for him.

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

“Blaney crew chief Jonathan Hassler suspended four races, as did crew members Graham Stoddard (jackman) and Zachary Price (rear changer) for the wheel coming off at Bristol. It’s Bristol’s only penalty of the weekend.

Blaney crew chief Jonathan Hassler suspended four races, as did crew members Graham Stoddard (jackman) and Zachary Price (rear changer) for the wheel coming loose at Bristol. It’s Bristol’s only penalty of the weekend.

Blaney crew chief Jonathan Hassler suspended four races, as did crew members Graham Stoddard (jackman) and Zachary Price (rear changer) for the wheel coming loose at Bristol. It’s Bristol’s only penalty of the weekend.

Penalties fall under Section 10.5.2.6 of 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 on Stage 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway

The incident happened when Ryan Blaney headed to pit road during Stage 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway for a new tyre. As he left his pit, the left front wheel detached from his #12 Ford and rolled into Austin Dillon’s pit. The 28-year-old, however, managed to work through the issue but it kept him out for his first win of the season. He finished 30th.

The No. 12 Penske team will be crewless and crewless for the next four races at Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The respective team members will be able 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 is the 13th occasion in the 2022 season where 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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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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