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Hendrick Motorsports to Appeal Phoenix Penalty

2023 Cup Phoenix I side-by-side racing Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, No. 5 Chevrolet (Credit: NKP)

Hendrick Motorsports has announced that it will appeal the penalty issued to them by NASCAR on March 15.

NASCAR confiscated the louvers on all four cars 35 minutes before on-track activity began at Phoenix Raceway this past weekend. After reviewing the parts at the NASCAR R&D Center, NASCAR docked 100 owner points, 100 driver points, and 10 playoff points from the No. 5, 24, and 48 teams, and 100 owner points and 10 playoff points from the No. 9 team. Additionally, all four crew chiefs were fined $100K and suspended four races.

HMS issued the following statement:

“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. 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.

“We are disappointed with today’s decision by NASCAR to issue penalties and have elected to appeal based on a variety of facts that include:

• Louvers provided 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 by the sanctioning body specifically related to louvers
• Recent comparable penalties issued by NASCAR have been related to issues discovered during a post-race inspection

“For the March 19 NASCAR Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, our organization has made the strategic decision not to request deferral of personnel suspensions. Team rosters for this weekend will be updated as soon as substitute crew chiefs are determined.”

The penalty dropped Alex Bowman from first in points to 23rd, William Byron from fourth to 29th, and Kyle Larson from fifth to 32nd.

NASCAR has not identified the specific offense they found with the louvers.

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