Petty GMS team “never seen it” before in Erik Jones NASCAR wheelnut story

Petty GMS Erik Jones NASCAR

Following struggling to replace the right-rear wheel from the racing car during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, the No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports crew thus became focus of attention.

Petty GMS Erik Jones NASCAR

As crews get used to the Next Gen Cup automobiles, they will undoubtedly run into issues they have never encountered before. This year has already brought them to a slew of new concerns.

The predicted issue is wheel loss, which has led to multiple fines in the first three months of the season. On Sunday, though, Petty GMS found themselves in an unusual circumstance.

Erik Jones’ race immediately went awry after he finished eighth in the first stage. The single, center-locking lug nut on the right rear wheel of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro refused to budge, making it nearly difficult to remove the wheel during a planned pit stop.

The crew tried all they could, including pounding on it with a hammer and trying to saw the wheel off. They ended up winning after losing seven laps.

James Houk, a tyre transporter who was caught in the centre of the unusual episode, spoke with Fox Sports 1 later.

“We knew on that last pit stop something was wrong,” said Houk. ‘We knew it was going to be a while to get off. We contemplated going back and cutting the wheel completely off, which is actually what we ended up doing on pit road with a sawzall. And then it finally came off. Never seen it!”

Jones finished 32nd and said afterward, “Our FOCUSfactor Chevy was decent today. We started out pretty good, but a little on the free side. The guys made good changes and made a pit call to get us in the top 10 and stage points at the end of stage one. Unfortunately, we had the issue with our tire and getting the right rear off. That kind of ended our day after going multiple laps down. We’ll refocus and head to Texas for the All-Star race.”

The problem is similar to the Merc F1 squad’s effort to remove a wheel from Valtteri Bottas’ car during the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix. The wheel was actually removed after many days and a high-powered drill at the team shop.

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