NASCAR announces appeal dates following Phoenix penalties
NASCAR officials have announced the appeal dates for three penalties issued following the March 12 race at Phoenix Raceway.
The sanctioning body confirmed Kaulig Racing will have its appeal of the No. 31 team’s penalty heard on Wednesday, April 5, while Denny Hamlin will have his appeal heard on Thursday, April 6.
Hendrick Motorsports‘ appeal of penalties handed to all four of its Cup Series race teams was heard Wednesday, March 29. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld the penalty itself, but amended the punishment and removed the points penalties.
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Originally, NASCAR penalized each of Hendrick Motorsports‘ four Cup Series teams — as well as the No. 31 team of Kaulig Racing and driver Justin Haley — with L2-level penalties for unapproved parts modifications. Each crew chief was fined $100,000 and suspended for four races, and each team was further penalized with the loss of 100 team and driver points and 10 playoff points (with the exception of the No. 9, which did not lose driver points because it had a substitute driver who earns Xfinity Series points).
The penalties occurred after NASCAR confiscated the hood louvers from all five cars before the Cup race at Phoenix Raceway. The Hendrick teams involved were the No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson, the No. 9 of Josh Berry (subbing for the injured Chase Elliott), the No. 24 of William Byron and the No. 48 of Alex Bowman. The respective crew chiefs fined and receiving suspensions were Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Rudy Fugle and Blake Harris. Trent Owens was suspended for Kaulig.
The NASCAR Rule Book section specifically referenced for the penalties was Section 220.127.116.11.A, which deals with how the radiator duct is assembled. The teams were found with unapproved modification of a single-source vendor-supplied part.
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Hamlin was fined $50,000 and issued a 25-point penalty for intentional contact with Ross Chastain in the closing laps of the contest. The section of the NASCAR Rule Book specifically mentioned in the penalty report was Sections 4.4: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct. Within that section, these items were detailed: B. Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race or championship and wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from competition as a result. D. Actions NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock racing or NASCAR.
Hamlin admitted his intent, triggering competition officials to further evaluate the situation.