NASCAR Suspends Two Crew Chiefs Ahead of Atlanta Race

The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Sunday with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Racing's sanctioning body has handed down penalties ahead of the race that will impact two teams. Both Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez lost their crew chiefs to one-race suspensions.

According to Racer's Kelly Crandall, NASCAR has suspended Jeremy Bullins and Travis Mack have for one Cup Series race due to two loose lug nuts on the cars driven by Keselowski and Suarez. Officials noticed the issue during inspection following Sunday's Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Both crew chiefs received $20,000 fines. Bullins and Keselowski finished Sunday's race in fourth place while Mack and Suarez finished 21st.

NASCAR also handed out other penalties following Sunday's race. Matt McCall of Chip Ganassi Racing (Kurt Busch), Ben Beshore of Joe Gibbs Racing (Kyle Busch), and Rudy Fugle of Hendrick Motorsports (William Byron) all received $10,000 fines for each having one lug nut not safe and secure. They avoided suspension and will head to Atlanta to continue working with their respective drivers.

Keselowski has not won a race in 2021 after securing four during the 2020 season and reaching the championship race at Phoenix Raceway. He finished in second place behind Chase Elliott, narrowly missing his second Cup Series championship. Keselowski currently sits second in points (197) behind Denny Hamlin (236) after strong performances in the first five races. However, neither driver has secured a spot in the playoffs just yet. Keselowski currently has 7-1 odds to win at Atlanta.

Suarez, on the other hand, is five races into his first season with Trackhouse Racing. He is 24th in points (74) and has considerable ground to make up in order to secure a spot above the playoff cutoff line. Suarez has two top-20 finishes so far but finished 36th in the Daytona 500 after a massive wreck involving multiple drivers. He now enters the weekend with 250-1 odds to win at Atlanta.

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The two drivers will now prepare for a 500-mile race around Atlanta Motor Speedway while each working with a different crew chief. The race takes place at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and will start shortly after Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews gives the command for the drivers to start their engines while serving as grand marshal. Fox will broadcast the race with Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Clint Bowyer calling the action from the booth.