Appeals panel amends penalties against Hendrick Motorsports
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel ruled Wednesday to amend the L2-level penalties issued to Hendrick Motorsports for unapproved parts modifications entering the March 12 weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
The decision upholds the fines of $100,000 issued to the Nos. 5, 9, 24 and 48 NASCAR Cup Series teams, respectively, as well as the four-race suspensions handed down to the four crew chiefs. However, each team is restored 100 owners points and 10 playoff points. Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman receive the same points back from the initial reduction. NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Josh Berry drove the No. 9 Chevrolet at Phoenix in place of the injured Chase Elliott and was not penalized as he does not compete for Cup points.
No. 5 crew chief Cliff Daniels, the No. 9‘s Alan Gustafson, the No. 24‘s Rudy Fugle and the No. 48‘s Blake Harris are eligible to return to their respective pit boxes for Martinsville Speedway weekend. While the organization chose to appeal the penalties, the team elected to keep its four crew chiefs sidelined for the Cup events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Circuit of The Americas.
NASCAR discovered the hood louvers before practice on March 10, but allowed the teams to practice before confiscating the parts and taking them back to the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, for further examination. Hendrick replaced the louvers after practice and all four cars passed technical inspection before Byron won the Cup race at Phoenix.
In the initial penalty report, the following sections of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book were cited: Section 6.1 Time/Manner/Location; 14.1.C,D&Q Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules; 220.127.116.11.A Radiator Duct. The penalties issued were the loss of 100 championship owner points and 10 playoff points to the Nos. 5, 9, 24 and 48; the loss of 100 championship driver points and 10 Playoff points to Larson, Byron and Bowman; and a $100,000 fine and four-race suspension to Daniels, Fugle, Harris and Gustafson.
The Appeals Panel members for this hearing were Kelly Housby, Dixon Johnston and Bill Lester.
The appellants have the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with the NASCAR Rule Book.
This story will be updated.