Chip Ganassi will have to watch his NASCAR Cup Series team compete from home this weekend. As part of Monday’s penalty report, NASCAR gave the team owner a one-race suspension and fine of $30,000 for violating the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocols during the previous weekend’s Daytona road course event.
At the road course weekend, Ganassi invited a guest who is not considered race-related personnel into a restricted area, a violation of Section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR rulebook. The guideline stipulates rules on how industry members should behave in order to comply with rules set by NASCAR to protect the industry during the pandemic. In particular, officials explained the infraction was “bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint.”
Unless he successfully appeals, Ganassi will be prohibited from going to the upcoming weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, his Chip Ganassi Racing team’s drivers Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain will compete as usual even without their boss present. Busch finished fourth in Sunday’s road course race while Chastain’s day ended in thirty-ninth after a wreck in Stage #2.
Other disciplinary action listed on the penalty report include crew chiefs Jeremy Bullins (#2 Team Penske of Brad Keselowski) and Adam Stevens (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing of Christopher Bell) receiving $10,000 fines for improperly-installed lug nuts found during post-race inspection. Stevens and Bell won Sunday’s race for the latter’s maiden Cup victory.
Ganassi is the first case of a team owner receiving a suspension for breaking COVID regulations.