NASCAR: Chip Ganassi’s suspension takes a strange turn

Chip Ganassi, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chip Ganassi, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Team owner Chip Ganassi was suspended for this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but not entirely.

Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Cup Series team owner Chip Ganassi was suspended for this Sunday afternoon’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after violating COVID-19 event protocols this past weekend at the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Ganassi was suspended and fined $30,000 for violating Section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book, which pertains to compliance with COVID-19 event procedures. The official reason given for the penalty was “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”.

His two teams, the #1 team of Kurt Busch and the #42 team of Ross Chastain, will still be allowed to compete in this Sunday’s 267-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Homestead, Florida, as they should be.

And Ganassi still might end up being there as well.

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According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, Ganassi will actually be allowed to attend the race, but with a catch: he simply won’t be allowed to be in any credentialed area, nor will he be allowed to be on the team radio like he usually is. In other words, he is simply suspended from being a team member for this event.

He will be permitted to watch the race in the grandstands with the limited number of fans who will be allowed in attendance, or he can watch the race from a suite.

Through the first two races of the 36-race season, Busch sits in eighth place in the championship standings while Chastain, who is in his first season with the team, sits in a 20th place tie. Busch finished last year’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 17th.

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So will Ganassi be at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Sunday, February 28? The Dixie Vodka 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.