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NASCAR penalizes Martin Truex Jr. points, ejects crew chief

NASCAR penalizes

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 04: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 04, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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NASCAR has issued severe penalties to Martin Truex Jr. and his team ahead of Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

NASCAR confiscated the spoiler from Truex’s car and issued the following penalties:

  • Loss of 20 owner and driver points
  • Crew chief James Small has been ejected
  • Truex will start at the rear
  • NASCAR has issued a $35,000 fine

NASCAR cited the team with violation rule 20.4.12.b:

  • Except as specified, spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer.

The 20-point penalty puts Truex 51 points from the cutoff spot, all but putting him in a must-win situation to advance to next month’s championship race. He’s never won in 30 previous Cup starts at Texas. Truex was to have started sixth.

Car chief Blake Harris will serve as the interim crew chief for Truex in Sunday’s race.

This is the second playoff race in a row that Truex has had to start at the rear because of inspection issues before the race. He started at the rear last weekend at Kansas and went on to finish ninth.

“We don’t quit. We never give up. We’ll try to drive this thing to the front and see if we can win here today,” Truex told NBCSN before the race. “Typically the biggest concern is stage points, especially that first one trying to get some. Obviously, the position we’re in now, we don’t have to worry about.”

NASCAR stated that Truex’s car also failed inspection twice. Also failing inspection twice were the No. 96 car of Daniel Suarez and the No. 49 of Chad Finchum.