The severe point penalties imposed on Hendrick Motorsports drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Kyle Larson for an illegally modified part on their Chevrolets that was discovered earlier this month have been overturned by a NASCAR appeals panel.
The appeals panel has reached a final decision regarding the L2-Level fines imposed on Hendrick Motorsports for making changes to hood louvers . The four NASCAR Cup Series drivers that are currently on the HMS squad will benefit from its amends.
Hendrick Motorsports’ appeal only achieved a limited results, though, as the three-person panel upheld the penalties and suspensions imposed on four Hendrick crew chiefs and restored 100 points to each of the three drivers after the hearing on Wednesday.
Hendrick Motorsports initially received the most fines from NASCAR for a single organization in the series’ history for modifying air-deflecting components at Phoenix Circuit earlier this month. HMS was penalized 100 regular-season points and 10 playoff points for each of the three drivers.
Hendrick received four four-race suspensions, a total $400,000 in fines ($100,000 to each of its four crew chiefs). The Hendrick penalties were the most severe collective punishment for one organization, despite the fact that NASCAR has imposed higher monetary fines and suspensions.
Bowman ascends to the top slot in the Cup Series standings with the reinstatement of the points. Larson is currently ninth while Byron is third. Josh Berry, who replaced Chase Elliott when he was out with a fractured leg, was not really fined as he wasn’t competing for Cup points.
“We are grateful to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel for their time and attention,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement.
“Today’s outcome reflects the facts, and we’re pleased the panel did the right thing by overturning the points penalty. It validated our concerns regarding unclear communication and other issues we raised.”
“We look forward to focusing on the rest of our season, beginning with this weekend’s race at Richmond (Raceway).”
Meanwhile, NASCAR expressed dissatisfaction with a part of the panel’s verdict.
“We are pleased that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel agreed that Hendrick Motorsports violated the rule book,” NASCAR said in a statement. “However, we are disappointed that the entirety of the penalty was not upheld.”
“A points penalty is a strong deterrent that is necessary to govern the garage following rule book violations, and we believe that it was an important part of the penalty in this case and moving forward.”
“We will continue to inspect and officiate the NASCAR garage at the highest level of scrutiny to ensure a fair and level playing field for our fans and the entire garage.”