Team Penske crewman suspended after Martinsville post-race fight

by Justin Nguyen

Dave Nichols Jr. has been suspended for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway following his involvement in a brawl after Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A tyre technician with Joey Logano‘s #22 Team Penske team, he was among the centre pieces of the fight between his driver and Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin.

“Competition officials suspended Dave Nichols Jr., a tire technician for Logano’s No. 22 team, for the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race for his role in an altercation after Sunday’s First Data 500,” a NASCAR statement read. “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.'”

Late in the race, Logano and Hamlin tangled, squeezing the former into the wall. Although they salvaged their contact to finish in the top ten, the two exchanged words on pit road. Hamlin raised a hand, which Logano knocked away before trying to exit, sparking the fight when Hamlin tried to chase after him.

While defending his driver and keeping them separated, Nichols dragged Hamlin to the ground by his collar. Although Hamlin got back up, the fight escaled into a scrum between Penske and JGR crewmen.

Hamlin mocked Logano’s conduct in his interview, saying “like Joey does, he does a little push and then runs away. That’s Joey. That’s scared. He said, ‘You wanna go?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m here’, but then he runs away. […] He would probably say, ‘Eh, short track racing!'”

Nichols, along with Penske colleagues Travis Geisler (competition director) and Todd Gordon (Logano’s crew chief), were ordered to the hauler for discipline. Logano and Hamlin were not summoned.

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