Hendrick Motorsports' Equipment Penalties Amended Following Appeal
Some of the L2-level penalties handed down to Hendrick Motorsports over unapproved parts modifications earlier this month have been amended after the team brought the issue to The National Motorsports Appeals Panel.
The panel ruled Wednesday that it will uphold the $100,000 fine issued to Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet Cup Series cars the No. 5 piloted by Kyle Larson, the No. 48 with Alex Bowman, the No. 24 with William Byron and the No. 9 with Chase Elliott’s replacement Jordan Berry. It will also have to keep its crew chiefs sidelined on suspension until Martinsville Speedway weekend. However, the 100 owners points and 10 playoff point penalties have been rescinded, according to NASCAR.com.
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Larson, Byron and Bowman will get the same points back that the initial penalty took away. Berry, however, is replacing Elliott while he recovers from a snowboarding injury. Since the replacement driver does not compete for Cup points, he was never penalized and therefore has no deducted points to restore.
What did NASCAR say about the Hendricks Motorsports penalty amendment?
NASCAR, which originally handed down the full penalty to the racing team, was pleased that the Appeals Panel upheld some of the punishments as a validation that the team was guilty of misconduct. However, it expressed its disappointment over the outcome’s potential precedent in a statement.
“We are pleased that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel agreed that Hendrick Motorsports violated the rule book,” the organization said. “However, we are disappointed that the entirety of the penalty was not upheld. A points penalty is a strong deterrent that is necessary to govern the garage following rule book violations, and we believe that it was an important part of the penalty in this case and moving forward. We will continue to inspect and officiate the NASCAR garage at the highest level of scrutiny to ensure a fair and level playing field for our fans and the entire garage.”
What did Hendrick Motorsports say about the penalty amendment?
The team was obviously pleased by the outcome and highlighted its reasoning for appealing the decision, citing concerns over “unclear communication.”
“We are grateful to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel for their time and attention,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a press release. “Today’s outcome reflects the facts, and we’re pleased the panel did the right thing by overturning the points penalty. It validated our concerns regarding unclear communication and other issues we raised. We look forward to focusing on the rest of our season, beginning with this weekend’s race at Richmond.”
What was the Hendrick Motorsports penalty for?
Ahead of the United 500 at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR officials confiscated hook louvers off the cars, which are shutter-like vents in the hood designed as exit points for ducts that move air out of the radiator. The organization ruled that Hendrick Motorsports was in violation of Sections 188.8.131.52.A of the NASCAR rule book by possessing and using unapproved modifications of a single-source vendor-supplied part. The team was issued the penalty but quickly appealed arguing that communication over the issue was not clear. Essentially, all teams have been struggling with fitting louvers to the new Next Gen car hoods, but there was clearly debate over whether the team’s solution was a rule violation or not.
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