Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove the No. 17 Ford to a 14th-place finish in last Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, but NASCAR officials found one of the car’s 20 lug nuts was improperly installed in a post-race check. Wednesday, RFR crew chief Brian Pattie was fined $10,000 for the safety violation.
Pattie, who has been atop the pit box for four victories in NASCAR’s premier series, is in his second season with the Jack Roush-owned organization. It’s his first season paired with Stenhouse, who is currently ranked 19th in the drivers’ standings after the year’s first seven races.
The penalty is the lightest for post-race lug-nut violations, under the updated deterrence system that NASCAR competition officials released Feb. 16. The penalty for two improperly fastened lug nuts rises to a $20,000 fine and one-race crew chief suspension. Three or more unsecured lug nuts results in a L1-grade penalty with a three-race ban for the crew chief, a $65,000 fine and the loss of 35 championship points in both the drivers’ and team owners’ standings.