Here’s why NASCAR let Jimmie Johnson slide on a potential rules violation – Charlotte Observer

NASCAR didn’t want to place Jimmie Johnson in double jeopardy Sunday, so he wasn’t penalized when a crew member replaced a lug nut outside his pit box during the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It would have been paramount to him serving two penalties,” said NASCAR spokesman Kurt Colbert. “We allowed it in the interest of safety, too.”

The incident happened during a pit stop that resulted from a caution on Lap 280. After Johnson pulled away from his stall, he skidded to a stop in the stall ahead of his, realizing that all the lug nuts hadn’t been fastened on the tires of his No. 48 Chevy. Instead of having Johnson back up, crew chief ordered Chad Knaus ordered a crew member to scramble over and tighten the lug nut.

According to NASCAR rules, servicing a car outside its pit stall is a one-lap penalty.

“Jimmie had already stopped, so in essence that was a penalty,” Culbert said. “That’s something we’ve been allowing this year.”

Johnson verified that to reporters after the race.

“At (New Hampshire) a couple of weeks ago, we had a similar thing happen, and NASCAR informed us that we didn’t need to back up into our pit box to complete the stop, so that’s why Chad stopped me where he did,” Johnson said. “They informed us that doesn’t count as equipment outside of the box. So I was going off Chad’s cue, stopped, put the lug nut on, and off we went.”

Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR champ, went on to finish seventh.

David Scott: @davidscott14

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