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NASCAR slams Braun Racing's No. 10, No. 38 Nationwide Series teams

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NASCAR has suspended four Braun Racing crew members and hit two of Braun's Nationwide Series teams with penalties after an incident during the June 5 race at Nashville Superspeedway.

The teams apparently swapped tires during the event without the approval of Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash, which is a violation of the rule book under Section 20A-10.8.2E (teams will not be permitted to use tires or wheels from another team unless approved by the series director) and 20A-10.8.2L (identification numbers have been changed on previously approved tires).

As a result, crew chiefs Stewart Cooper (No. 10) and Trip Bruce (No. 38), as well as tire specialists Sean Whisenhunt (No. 10) and Kevin Bellicourt (No. 38), have been suspended from the next two Nationwide races, suspended from NASCAR until June 23 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

Bruce and Cooper also were each fined $25,000.

In addition, the No. 10 and No. 38 teams were docked 25 owner points, and drivers Tayler Malsam and Jason Leffler were penalized 25 driver points. Nashville was the first start of the season for Malsam, but the penalty drops Leffler from seventh to an eighth-place tie with Steve Wallace.

The No. 10 team loses one position to 13th in the Nationwide owners standings, while the No. 38 team remains 19th.

"Though we feel the penalties levied against Braun Racing for infractions at Nashville Superspeedway against the No. 38 and No. 10 teams are harsh under the circumstances, we understand NASCAR’s need to be consistent in making sure teams adhere to the rule book in order to promote a level playing field," team owner Todd Braun said in a statement. "This situation is the result of miscommunication between team personnel and we will need to further evaluate the circumstances and work to improve our procedures to ensure this does not happen again."