Noah Gragson crossed the finish line fourth at Darlington Raceway but was disqualified during post-race inspection for an issue in the suspension, NASCAR announced Saturday evening (May 8).
Following the NASCAR Xfinity Series Steakhouse Elite 200, NASCAR officials inspected the cars of race winner Justin Allgaier, second-place finisher Josh Berry and Gragson, who had won the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 prize for the third consecutive week.
But officials found a violation in post-race inspection this time, an infraction of Rule 20.14.c, which states:
All suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension and/or drivetrain component beyond normal rotation or suspension and/or drivetrain travel.
“In the NASCAR Xfinity Series rule book, all L1 and L2 penalties found in-race and/or during at-track post-race inspection shall result in a race disqualification,” Wayne Auton, the NASCAR Xfinity Series managing director, said in a post-race Zoom. “
Under NASCAR’s penalty system, the sanctioning body lists “Parts or system configurations installed and/or assembled to circumvent the rule book (examples: rear suspension parts mounted and assembled in a manner so as to allow movement that should not otherwise be available …)” as an L1 penalty.
Gragson is relegated to a 40th-place finish following the disqualification. Through nine races, the No. 9 team has three top fives, four top 10s and three DNFs to go along with Saturday’s disqualification.
With Gragson’s disqualification, AJ Allmendinger moves up to 12th and is declared the winner of the third Dash 4 Cash competition of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, claiming the $100,000 prize for Kaulig Racing.
JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns Gragson’s No. 9 team, retweeted a 2018 tweet of his to indicate his thoughts on the penalty:
I want our teams to always be aggressive with the rule book and I always want @Nascar to be extremely strict in enforcing it. Sometimes those lines are gonna cross. Shake it off and get ready for the next one. https://t.co/hKsq9I8n8v
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) May 9, 2018
The drivers eligible for the fourth and final round of the Dash 4 Cash next weekend at Dover International Raceway are Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry and Brandon Jones. The Xfinity Series hits the Monster Mile at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 15 at Dover.