Since its return last May after the Covid-19 pandemic, NASCAR has taken some extraordinary steps to ensure drivers, crew, and officials are as safe as they possibly could be. As a result, few people in the sport have been diagnosed with the virus and there have been no outbreaks of the virus.
Race teams have separated track crews from shop crews to limit any possible contact and NASCAR has forbidden any non-essential personnel are not allowed in the garages, pits, and victory circle.
On February 22, NASCAR officials suspended car owner Chip Ganassi for one race and fined $30,000, citing a violation of the NASCAR rule book and its Covid-19 protocols.
NASCAR stated that Ganassi violated the rule by allowing a non-essential person into the competition area at Daytona International Speedway during last week’s road course races.
Unless he files an appeal, Ganassi will not be allowed to attend the Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami this weekend; however, Ganassi will be allowed to field his two cars – the number one car driven by Kurt Busch and the number 42 car driven by Ross Chastain.
Spire Motorsports crew chief Ryan Sparks has been placed under Covid-19 protocols and will not be sitting atop the pit box for the Dixie Vodka 400 this weekend; nor will he be travelling to Homestead-Miami for the Dixie Vodka 400 this weekend. Spire Motorsports has two other crew members who have been listed as inactive for this weekend due to those same protocols. Sparks is the crew chief for the number seven car driven by Corey LaJoie.
In Sparks place, former crew chief and current NBC Sports reporter Steve Letarte will be returning to pit road to serve as crew chief this weekend. Letarte was the crew chief for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr where he won a total of 15 races.
In other penalty news…
Adam Stevens, crew chief for the Joe Gibbs Racing number 20 car driven by Christopher Bell and Jeremy Bullins, crew chief for the Team Penske number two car driven by Brad Keselowski were each fined $10,000 for having an improperly secured lug nut during the post-race inspection process following the O’Reilly Auto Parts 255 road course race.