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Ryan Blaney’s team loses crew chief, crew members to penalty

Following the conclusion of the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway, drivers recap the night race and look ahead to the Round of 12.

Ryan Blaney’s ride through the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs has gotten tougher.

NASCAR Tuesday announced penalties to the No. 12 team because of a loose wheel during a pit stop Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Crew chief Jonathan Hassler, jackman Graham Stoddard and rear tire changer Zachary Price were suspended for the next four races.

Blaney’s troubles began early in the race when he blew a right front tire and slammed into the wall. He pitted for new tires, but his left rear wheel rolled off the car and bounced down pit road through several pit stalls as he was leaving the pit.

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The lost wheel “syndrome” has plagued numerous teams this season. Among drivers impacted: Justin Haley, Kaz Grala, Todd Gilliland, Corey LaJoie, Bubba Wallace, B.J. McLeod, Denny Hamlin, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric.

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Blaney, who finished 30th at Bristol, is eighth in points entering Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, the first race in the Round of 12.

Blaney is the only driver in the group of 12 playoff drivers who has not won a race this year.