Stewart Haas Racing handed a hefty penalty after Charlotte

Stewart Haas Racing handed a hefty penalty after Charlotte

The No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing squad under Chase Briscoe has been hit with the harshest penalty in the NASCAR rulebook for a Next Gen car infraction.

One of the biggest penalties in NASCAR’s Next Gen era history has been assessed to Chase Briscoe and Stewart-Haas Racing following a breakdown inspection of the No.14 Ford Mustang at the R&D Center, resulting to an L3-Level fine.

On Wednesday, NASCAR docked both Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing team 120 and 25 playoff points respectively. Additionally, Briscoe’s crew chief Johnny Klausmeier has been penalized $250,000 and suspended from the next six NASCAR Cup Series events.

Briscoe’s Ford Mustang was found to have a fake component, according to NASCAR. The engine panel and underwing rules were specifically mentioned in the rule book, and the offence on Briscoe’s car involved a fake NACA duct and an engine panel.

“When we bring cars post-race to the R&D Center, they are completely stripped down to basically nuts, bolts, washer laid out on the floor,” NASCAR senior vice president Elton Sawyer said.

“The engine panel NACA, which is basically under the engine of the car, and the NACA duct, which allows air to travel through the NACA.

“(To) back up through the development process of the Next Gen car, we basically put an opening in the windshield as well as slots in the back glass and a NACA duct in the engine panel to allow air to get in areas of the car to help keep the car cool.

“So, it’s a single-sourced part that you cannot fabricate, you cannot mess with, you cannot counterfeit, and we’ve been very clear with that.

“Don’t mess with a single-source part,” Sawyer added. “Working in areas we used to in the Gen-6 car, is just not going to be acceptable with this car as we move forward. It’s not going to be the culture we’re going to allow.”

This fine is a component of the new tier NASCAR released in advance of the Next Gen era. It was revealed that there would be three primary tiers of penalties targeted at the new cars—L1, L2, and L3—by the sanctioning body when it amended the Rule Book in advance of the 2022 season.

The most extreme NASCAR Rule Book infractions are handled at the L3-Level. This includes contravening the rules on vehicle testing, tampering with fuel and/or tires, manufacturing counterfeit single-source vendor parts, violating engine regulations, and enhancing engine performance.

The sanctions imposed on Stewart-Haas Racing are the bare minimum allowable at L3-Level, claims NASCAR. Possible point penalties range from 120 to 180, and possible fines are in the $250,000 to $500k range. If a team repeatedly violates the rules, it may also get a one-race ban or lose eligibility for the postseason.

The teams have the chance to appeal to the impartial tribunal when NASCAR imposes a penalty. In contrast, Stewart-Haas Racing won’t. The organization will simply go forward in its place.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Stewart Haas Racing Competition Director Greg Zipadelli.

“We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Six cars were taken for inspection following the Coca-Cola 600, one of which was the No. 14 Ford Mustang. It was taken to the R&D Center together with the No. 31 Chevrolet of Kaulig Racing for an engine dyno and breakdown examination.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Toyota and Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet also visited the R&D Center for an engine dyno. The No. 38 Ford from Front Row Motorsports and the No. 43 Chevrolet from Legacy Motor Club then headed to the wind tunnel.

Briscoe was the driver who was on the verge of missing the playoffs heading to the Coca-Cola 600. He was on the right side of the cutline and ranked 16th in the championship standings. However, he lost his place after Alex Bowman, who was back, overtook him in the standings.

Now, everything has changed drastically as Briscoe drops from 292 points to just 172. He now finds himself in a must-win scenario to even make the playoffs, ranking 31st in the rankings. Even if he succeeds in achieving this goal, he will still start the first round far behind the other 15 drivers.

Ty Gibbs now goes up one spot as Briscoe drops to position 31. He is 15 points behind Bowman and ranked 17th in the playoff standings. Daniel Suarez of Trackhouse Racing sits in 18th place and 20 points behind Bowman.

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