NASCAR: Why Joey Logano was dealt a massive penalty at Atlanta

Joey Logano received a massive pre-race penalty from NASCAR at Atlanta Motor Speedway due to an issue with the gloves he used during qualifying.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Team Penske's Joey Logano was supposed to have started Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the front row behind the wheel of his No. 22 Ford after advancing to Saturday's second round of single-car qualifying session and posting the second fastest speed.

However, it was discovered that the reigning winner of the Ambetter Health 400 at the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) Hampton, Georgia native had used illegal gloves during this qualifying session.

Logano was found to have violated Section (“Driver Protective Clothing/Equipment”) in the NASCAR Rule Book, which requires that protective gloves meet SFI-approved specifications.

The violation related to the webbing between the thumb and the index finger on his left glove. The modification, made for an aerodynamic gain during qualifying, made the article non-compliant with the regulations.

Joey Logano was issued a bigger penalty by NASCAR than you might have expected.

He had to drop to the rear of the field before the green flag and serve a drive-through penalty in the pits at the start of the 260-lap race, as the infraction was largely viewed as, for lack of a better word, cheating.

By comparison, Hendrick Motorsports' Chase Elliott, who had qualified in 28th place, only had to drop to the rear as a result of unapproved adjustments to his No. 9 Chevrolet, which is a pretty standard pre-race penalty.

Fortunately for Logano, a 16-car crash took place on the race's second lap while he was serving his penalty, and the ensuing caution meant that he did not lose as much ground as he otherwise would have. He ended up overcoming the penalty and leading 27 laps before crashing out on the final lap of stage two.

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Despite qualifying efforts of first and second place to start the 2024 season, Logano finds himself in 33rd place in the point standings following back-to-back wrecks.