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NASCAR suspends Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief for rules violation

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Cole Pearn will sit out one race, though the penalty is under appeal.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn has been suspended one race after NASCAR inspectors found a violation on Martin Truex Jr.'s No. 78 car pertaining to roof flaps prior to Sunday's event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In addition to the suspension, Pearn was fined $50,000 and 15 driver and owner points were docked from Truex and Furniture Row, respectively. The team is appealing all the penalties, thereby deferring the sanctions and allowing Pearn to work this weekend's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Atlanta marked the second consecutive race NASCAR took issue with the roof flaps on the No. 78 car. Prior to Feb. 14 qualifying for the following week's Daytona 500, officials forced Truex to remove himself from the order and his car was then re-inspected and later impounded. Pearn was placed on probation until the end of the season last week, which is why the penalties announced Wednesday were escalated.

The loss of 15 points drops Truex, who finished second at Daytona and seventh at Atlanta, from second in the standings to eighth overall. He now trails championship leader Kyle Busch by 18 points.

NASCAR also penalized the teams of Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger Wednesday.

Dillon, Menard and Newman are all members of Richard Childress Racing, with Michael McDowell's Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team a RCR satellite outfit. All four cars were found with illegal body attachment mounts and/or supports discovered during pre-race inspection Sunday at Atlanta.

Each of the four drivers was docked 10 points, while their respective crew chiefs were fined $15,000 and placed on probation through the end of the season.

Allmendinger, of JTG Daugherty Racing, was deducted 10 points and his crew chief, Randall Burnett, fined $15,000 after rear wheel tub crush panels were deemed not within specifications prior to qualifying Friday at Atlanta. Burnett was also placed on probation through the end of the season.