NASCAR has issued a penalty to team owner Chip Ganassi for breaking the sport’s COVID-19 protocols.
According to NASCAR, Ganassi’s penalty was “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint” during the last race weekend at Daytona International Speedway. He was fined $30,000 and, pending any potential appeal, will not be permitted to attend the upcoming Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.
Ganassi is the team owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields the No. 1 and No. 42 Chevrolet cars driven by Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain, respectively, in the Cup Series.
His team’s cars are still permitted to enter Sunday’s race. The team declined to comment.
In its weekly penalty report, NASCAR declared Ganassi violated Section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book, a subsection of the member conduct guidelines that includes compliance with COVID-19 event protocol guidelines. The rule, listed under a section of member actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine, states:
“Failure to comply with NASCAR’s COVID-19 Event Protocol Guidelines and/or instructions from NASCAR including screenings, social distancing, compartmentalization, and use of required personal protective equipment, etc.”
NASCAR updated that section of its rule book two weeks ago, reducing the penalty for violation of its COVID-19 event procedures. Previously, that same action could result in a loss of 25-50 driver and Team Owner Points and/or $50,000-$100,000 fine and/or a single race suspension, indefinite suspension, or termination.
NASCAR’s original pandemic procedures from last year allowed 16 individuals per team inside its footprint at the racetrack. As part of changes to its event protocols this year, NASCAR is allowing one team owner per organization, either in the infield or in a suite, and one public relations or “content person” per car.
In its penalty report, NASCAR also issued two safety-level penalties for lug nut(s) not properly installed on the No. 2 car driven by Brad Keselowski and the No. 20 car driven by Christopher Bell. Their respective crew chiefs, Jeremy Bullins and Adam Stevens, have each been fined $10,000 for the infraction.