Joey Logano will not be able to use his win Sunday at Richmond International Raceway to make the NASCAR playoffs, nor will he be allowed to carry the five playoff points he earned from that win throughout the playoffs after NASCAR discovered in its Tuesday follow-up inspection that his car had an illegal suspension.
NASCAR also suspended Logano crew chief Todd Gordon two races, fined him $50,000 and docked Logano 25 points for the violation, which centered on the truck-trailing arm spacer and pinion angle shim and how much they can move during a race. Depending on how they move, it can enhance a driver's ability to drive through the corner.
Team Penske will not appeal the penalty. Race engineer Miles Stanley will serve as Logano's crew chief this weekend at Talladega, with the team's Xfinity Series crew chief, Greg Erwin, helping call race strategy Sunday.
"We understand and accept the penalty that was communicated to us today by NASCAR following last weekend's victory by the No. 22 car at Richmond," the team said in a statement. "We are disappointed by the notice, however, we do not plan to appeal the penalty. The No. 22 team remains focused on competing for wins as we work towards the NASCAR playoffs and a championship."
Penske already has a final appeal set for Tuesday on penalties to Logano teammate Brad Keselowski from a race in March.
NASCAR has been focused on cracking down on teams' manipulating the rear suspension in correlation with rules this year that outlaw rear-suspension skew at the start of the race -- making the cars more difficult to drive in hopes of encouraging more passing. Logano and Matt Kenseth lost 30 minutes of practice time Friday at Richmond for swerving their cars on their cool-down lap in the previous race at Bristol Motor Speedway, a maneuver that NASCAR considers suspicious of a driver trying to adjust the car back into compliance.
Losing the 25 points drops Logano from fourth in the standings to fifth, behind Keselowski. Regular-season points matter more this season because of the "playoff points" that drivers can earn based on the regular-season final standings.
As part of the new 2017 points system, drivers earn one playoff point for a stage win and five playoff points for a race win, plus the top 10 in the final regular-season standings earn playoff points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Those playoff points are added to a driver's total when points are reset for each of the first three rounds of the playoffs. That means the more playoff points, the better chance a driver has of advancing to the next round.
In other penalties issued Thursday, NASCAR fined Denny Hamlin crew chief Mike Wheeler $10,000 for a loose lug nut on Hamlin's car at the end of the Richmond race. In the Xfinity Series, it suspended Richard Childress Racing crew chief Danny Stockman for one race and fined him $10,000 after Daniel Hemric's car had two loose lug nuts at the end of the Richmond race.