NASCAR is clearly NOT playing around about its COVID safety rules ... it just dropped the hammer on Chip Ganassi for a violation, hitting the famed team owner with both a ban and a fine.
NASCAR officials say at a race at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, Ganassi brought "a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint" into the competition area.
Obviously, it's a huge no-no during the pandemic ... the org is trying like hell to limit any potential spread of the coronavirus, and unauthorized guests certainly compromise that.
So, to send a stern message, NASCAR slapped Ganassi with a one-race suspension as well as a $30,000 fine.
Ganassi will have the opportunity to appeal ... but, for now, he's barred from this weekend's races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
62-year-old Chip is one of racing's biggest names ... his teams have piled up 20 championships and over 200 wins, including a Daytona 500 victory and multiple Indianapolis 500 crowns.