NASCAR driver, team enter Las Vegas race with negative points

Noah Gragson is set to enter Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with six fewer points than those watching in the stands.
Noah Gragson, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR
Noah Gragson, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

NASCAR confiscated the roof rail deflectors of Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 10 Ford, driven by Noah Gragson, and No. 41 Ford, driven by Ryan Preece, during Cup Series inspection this past Friday evening at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Gragson ended up crashing out of the 260-lap Ambetter Health 400 at the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) high-banked Hampton, Georgia oval, leaving him with a 36th place finish and just one point to show for it. Preece finished in 16th and scored 21 points.

But NASCAR decided Tuesday to dock both drivers and their respective teams 35 points in the driver standings and the owner standings, as the confiscated parts were found to have not met specifications and were therefore deemed illegal.

After scoring 14 points in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a 23rd place finish, Preece and the No. 41 team have now officially scored zero points in the first two races of the 2024 season.

Gragson scored 28 with a ninth place finish in the Daytona 500, but his Atlanta DNF has him and his No. 10 team in negative points territory.

Noah Gragson six points below zero through two races

The 25-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native is set to enter his home race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with negative six points through his first two races behind the wheel of the No. 10 Ford.

All things considered, the start of the season could not have been worse for Stewart-Haas Racing, which entered the year in somewhat of a rebuilding phase amid a significant three-year decline in performance.

Expectations were at an all-time low, but I'm not quite sure anybody expected only two of their four drivers to enter race number three in positive points territory.

Chase Briscoe leads the team in 22nd place in the point standings, with newcomer Josh Berry in 29th. Without penalties, Preece would have been in 23rd, while Gragson would have been tied for 27th, which would have mired Berry in 31st.

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The Pennzoil 400 is scheduled to take place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Sunday, March 3 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it on Fox!