The Nos. 24 and 48 Chevrolets were disassembled at the R&D Center this week, and Hendrick Motorsports has been fined once more.
After Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway, NASCAR authorities decided to conduct inspection and disassembled the cars driven by William Byron and Alex Bowman. Bowman placed ninth in the Toyota Owners 400, while Byron, who led the most laps, placed 24th.
The NASCAR Rule Book sections 14.1.D Overall Assembled Vehicle Regulations and 14.1.2.B Engineering Change Log were broken, and Hendrick Motorsports was assessed an L1-level penalty. Modifications to the race cars’ greenhouse area were found to be in violation of the regulations.
As a result, 60 points and five playoff points have been deducted from Byron and Bowman, respectively. The crew chiefs of Byron and Bowman, Brian Campe and Greg Ives, each received a $75,000 fine.
The two crew chiefs were also suspended from the NASCAR Cup Series for two races. The suspensions for Campe and Ives, who are both temporary crew chiefs as the four Hendrick Motorsports teams complete their four-race bans for the modified hood louvers last month at Phoenix Raceway, take effect on Thursday, April 13.
Given that the normal Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs will be qualified to make a comeback from their four-race suspensions after Bristol, this timing is crucial.
The only two Hendrick Motorsports drivers fined for the L1-Level infraction were Bowman and Byron. Kyle Larson’s No. 5 Chevy, which won the race, passed the post-event inspection as Josh Berry’s No. 9 Chevrolet wasn’t brought to the R&D facility.
“We are reviewing the penalties issued today by NASCAR and will determine next steps following Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement.
The L2-Level penalties were contested by Hendrick Motorsports, who partially prevailed. The four crew chiefs’ four-race bans and $100,000 fines were upheld by the appeals panel. The 100-point penalties imposed on the four drivers and teams were, however, reversed.
The L1-Level penalties may be appealed, and Hendrick Motorsports may seek to have them reversed. However, because the penalty report was released on Thursday, April 6, as opposed to earlier in the week, this decision will be made at a later date.
The standings have undergone another change as a result of additional penalties that NASCAR has handed out to Hendrick Motorsports. Due to penalties, Bowman has already lost the lead in the points standings twice in March.
Bowman lost his lead after the race at Phoenix Raceway,. He fell outside the top 20 due to the L2-Level penalties, but after Hendrick Motorsports filed an appeal, he moved back to the top of the standings.
Bowman has now lost the lead once more. He now holds the seventh position in the standings but has no playoff points. Ross Chastain is now the new points leader after leaving Richmond Raceway four points behind Bowman.
Comparatively, Byron falls from fourth to fourteenth in the standings. After accumulating a stockpile with two race victories (worth five points each) and five stage victories, he currently only has 10 playoff points.
There is a chance that both drivers will receive their lost points in the upcoming weeks. However, Hendrick Motorsports would have to opt to appeal penalties for the second time this season in order for that to happen. Additionally, they would need to persuade the appeals panel that they were not in violation of the NASCAR Rule Book.