Hendrick Motorsports was given a record fine of $400,000 by NASCAR on Wednesday for making unauthorized changes to its cars.
All four of Hendrick Motorsports’ Cup Series teams as well as Kaulig Racing’s No. 31 team received severe penalties from NASCAR on Wednesday as a result of the modifications they made to their vehicles last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
The five crew chiefs Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Rudy Fugle, and Blake Harris, along with Kaulig’s Trent Owens were each given a four-race suspension by NASCAR and were also each given a $100,000 fine. Also, each team lost 10 points in the playoffs as well as 100 team and driver points.
Hood louvers, which the cars sported on Friday during practice sessions, were the subject of the fines. However, Before the Sunday race, the parts were replaced.
Kyle Larson, Josh Berry, William Byron, and Alex Bowman were the drivers of the infringing race teams. A fine was also imposed on Justin Haley’s Kaulig Racing team. Byron took and kept the lead in overtime, winning the race. After 60 laps, Larson overtook him, having taken the lead from the beginning of the race. Larson came in fourth, Bowman ninth and Berry 10th.
Hood louvers have the function of ventilating hot air out of the engine compartment to prevent the engine from overheating. The illegal modifications in question have to do with how the radiator duct is put together, according to CBS.
“We, from time to time, will capture parts, we’ll bring them back,” NASCAR’s senior vice president Elton Sawyer said in a statement on Wednesday. “And as we continue to investigate and look at parts and comparing parts, it was obvious to us that these parts had been modified in an area that wasn’t approved.”
The Hendricks team announced that it would contest the fines but not the sanctions.
“On Friday at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR identified louvers on our race cars during a voluntary inspection 35 minutes after the opening of the garage and prior to on-track activity,” read a statement from Hendrick Motorsports.
“NASCAR took possession of the parts approximately four hours later with no prior communication.”
“The situation had no bearing on Saturday’s qualifying session or Sunday’s race.”