NASCAR issued its biggest penalties to date against Cup Series teams it found had modified parts from a single supplier on the Next Gen car.
NASCAR on Wednesday issued fines to five Cup Series teams — all four Hendrick Motorsports teams and one from Kaulig Racing — for the unapproved part change from one source.
The No. 5 team with driver Kyle Larson, William Byron’s No. 24, Alex Bowman’s No. 48 – all Hendrick’s – and driver Justin Haley’s No. 31 all received 100 driver points, 100 owner points, and 10 playoff points. points.
Chase Elliott’s No. 9, also of HMS, was awarded 100 owner points and 10 playoff points – no driver points as Elliott is not currently driving the car and is recovering from injury.
In addition, all five crew chiefs from the respective teams were fined $100,000 and suspended four races each.
The reason for the fines
The violation is detected from Section 6.1.A Time/Way/Location; 14.1 C&D&Q General rules for mounted vehicles; 184.108.40.206.A Radiator Duct Note: Unapproved modification of a single supplier supplied component (hood fins).
Hood louvers are vents in the hood of any manufacturer’s car that serve as a release point for ducts that exhaust air from the radiator.
The use of vents saves teams from having to tape off the car’s front grille, which was widely used as a performance adjustment tool in the previous iteration of a race car.
During the initial inspection last Friday at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR inspectors found problems with the hood louvers on all four HMS cars – the No. 5 Larson, the No. 9 Berry, the No. 24 Byron and the No. 48 Bowman .
The teams were allowed to use them during training and they were subsequently confiscated. Prior to Saturday’s qualifying session, the teams were allowed to change the slats.
In addition, prior to Cup qualifying last Saturday, NASCAR also confiscated the hood slats from Kaulig’s No. 31 Chevrolet. The team was allowed to replace them and participate in time trials.
All slats were returned to NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, NC, for further evaluation.
With the introduction of the Next Gen car in the 2022 season, NASCAR has updated its penalty system with much harsher consequences for infractions, including withdrawal from the playoffs, particularly with regard to changing single source parts -suppliers.
Front Row Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing all received heavy penalties last season for altering parts supplied by a single supplier.
HMS is appealing the penalties, releasing the following statement: “Friday at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR identified slats on our race cars during voluntary inspection 35 minutes after garage opening and prior to track activities. NASCAR took possession of the parts about four hours later with no prior communication The situation did not affect Saturday’s qualifying session or Sunday’s race.
“We are disappointed with NASCAR’s decision today to impose sanctions and have elected to appeal based on several facts.”
The team then listed the following things:
– Slats supplied to teams through NASCAR’s mandated single-source supplier do not match the design submitted by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR
– Documented inconsistent and unclear communication from the sanctioning body specifically regarding slats
– Recent similar penalties imposed by NASCAR are related to issues discovered during post-race inspections.
The organization has also made the “strategic decision” not to request a postponement of the crew chief’s suspensions.