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Sunday, January 29, 2023

NASCAR Cup: Stewart-Haas Racing Team and Driver Cole Custer Penalised

The team was found guilty of trying to artificially alter the race’s finishing positions

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED STATES: NASCAR Cup Series driver Cole Custer and his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team were penalised by NASCAR officials on Tuesday for their actions in the Cup Series Playoffs race at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course on Sunday.

The team was found guilty of trying to artificially alter the race’s finishing positions. The Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team was penalised under Section 5.5 of the NASCAR Rule Book, which requires the teams to race at 100% of their ability.

Other sections of the rule book were also cited in Tuesday’s report, which falls under the heading of member conduct. Cole Custer and No. 41 crew chief Michael Shiplett were each fined $100,000.

Additionally, Shiplett was suspended indefinitely. Cole Custer and the team were issued 50-point deductions in their respective driver and owner standings.

Stewart-Haas Racing indicated that the team would be appealing the penalty. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chief Competition Officer, Greg Zipadelli, released a statement through the team’s various social media platforms saying, “Stewart-Haas Racing denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend its personnel against these allegations in its appeal with NASCAR” on Wednesday.

Cole Custer’s No. 41 Mustang seemed to slow down in the final lap of Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400, thus impeding the path of Austin Dillon and Erik Jones while letting Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford through at the entrance to the backstretch chicane.

Briscoe went on to advance to the next round of the playoffs by a margin of two points.

The final-lap data, video, and radio transmissions were reviewed by NASCAR officials, and it was determined that Chase Briscoe had qualified for the playoffs without the benefit of Cole Custer’s block.

The analysis of the No. 41 car’s data along with the suspicious nature of Michael Shiplett’s directives from the pit box forced NASCAR officials to step in.

During the final lap of the race, crew chief Michael Shiplett told driver Cole Custer, “I think you’ve got a flat (tire) Check up, check up, check up,”. At the time of this radio transmission, Shiplett was in no position to see the car or have any hint of the car’s having a flat tire.

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