Zane Smith Calls NASCAR Out Over Faulty Nuts

Zane Smith NASCAR Driver

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Photo Courtesy Dylan Buell/Getty Images — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racer Zane Smith called NASCAR out last Friday via his Twitter account. Smith was frustrated that he and his team, Front Row Motorsports, were disqualified following a second-place finish in Las Vegas last weekend for a technical infraction involving illegal lug nuts on the truck’s wheels. The driver claimed that the lug nuts in question actually were faulty when they came from NASCAR’s supplier.

“Tough pill to swallow for my team,” Smith said in his tweet. “From a supply issue of (illegal) lug nuts that will get you a DQ after coming from the back twice to finish second and not getting any credit for it sucks. Nothing will feel better than getting a win (at Atlanta). Focusing Forward.”

Later that day, Xfinity Series team owner Sam Hunt backed up Smith’s claim by commenting on Smith’s Tweet, saying that his team had received an entire box of illegal lug nuts for the Las Vegas race directly from the supplier and showed a photo.

“Our new box of stock lugs purchased for Vegas were all illegal / shaved down. It’s an issue. Having our pit crew sort through every single lug before gluing onto wheel in pit box. Hard to find legal lugs. Not NASCAR’s fault (because) rule is a rule, but (teams) need a solution from supplier.”

Then, on Saturday morning, a crew member of Brandon Brown’s Xfinity team named Collin Fern also said on Twitter that their team had also gotten a large quantity of out-of-spec lug nuts. “Brand new box of lug nuts. 57 of 250 were legal.” the tweet said. 

That makes three teams in two days in two different series who have stated publicly that they are having a hard time getting lug nuts that are legal according to the rules. This would seem to suggest that this issue stems from some sort of faulty production on the part of the supplier. If true, that would leave me with several questions.

First, did NASCAR know that this problem existed prior to the Las Vegas race weekend? If they did, why would they choose to disqualify a team for using the lug nuts?

Why did they only choose to disqualify Smith and his team? Did they check to see if anyone else in either race was using faulty nuts?

Why, after this was brought to their attention, have they not reversed their decision and given Smith and Front Row Motorsports back their position and points?

As of today, NASCAR has not issued a public statement about any of this. Meanwhile, Smith, who would be leading the points in the NCWTS right now were it not for the penalty, instead goes into Atlanta in 12th place. Though his win at Daytona assured the team of a playoff spot, the questionable DQ takes away points that could become valuable for a regular season championship. Winning the regular season title would give them 15 additional playoff points.

As we head to Atlanta Motor Speedway and the next Truck Series race, I hope that NASCAR will clarify the situation for us and for the teams. If in fact the supplier has had an issue and these teams cannot be sure they’re getting legal lug nuts right now, I hope NASCAR will do the right thing and reverse the DQ and lost appeal for Front Row Motorsports, awarding them back the second-place finish and points they earned.

If multiple teams are having the same issue, how do you justify penalizing any of them, let alone singling out just one?