It seems like “Only in NASCAR!” moments happen every week lately, doesn’t it? And yet another one occurred Thursday when Joe Gibbs Racing suspended two members of Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew for three races.
Yes, that’s right: JGR issued suspensions to a pair of crewman who pit the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 car — essentially JGR’s top competitor this season.
How is that possible? Well, FRR doesn’t have its own pit crew. As part of its alliance deal with JGR (which supplies FRR with cars), the No. 78 uses a JGR pit crew each week.
So when two of the pit crew members nearly got in a fight with Kyle Busch crew chief Adam Stevens after the Brickyard 400, that was a BIG-TIME no-no.
I mean, think about it: Two employees of a company were screaming in the face of someone who was basically their superior. That would get you fired from a LOT of jobs, to be honest.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 25, 2017
But although the suspensions were justified, the optics on this are terrible. Stevens didn’t start the confrontation — one of the crew members taunted the crew chief by clapping as he walked by — Stevens probably should have gotten some kind of public reprimand if the crew guys were going to end up losing three weeks of salary.
Otherwise, the general fan is understandably going to have a “If you can’t beat ’em, suspend ’em” reaction to what happened — no matter how much JGR and FRR try to explain that you can’t get in an altercation with a high-level person from the company that signs your checks.