NASCAR penalties “a terrible situation”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

All four HMS Cup teams were hit with significant penalties earlier this week from NASCAR for unapproved modifications made to Next Gen car parts which originated from a single-source supplier.

In this case, the hood louvers (vents) were confiscated from the Nos. 5, 9, 24 and 48 Chevrolets following practice at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalties included $100,000 fines for all four crew chiefs and four-race suspensions, loss of 100 driver (except the No. 9 team) and owner points and 10 playoff points for each team.

Kaulig Racing’s No. 31 Chevrolet team also received the same penalty.

Discrepancy in parts?

Chad Knaus, HMS’ vice president of competition, said the louvers were among the newly designed spec parts for the 2023 season but there have been discrepancies in what they thought they would receive and what the teams actually received.

“When we started to get parts at the beginning of the 2023 season, we didn’t have the parts that we thought we were going to have,” Knaus said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Through a tremendous amount of back-and-forth with NASCAR and the OEM and the teams there’s been conversations about whether we can clean up the parts, not clean up the parts and it’s changed quite honestly every couple weeks.

“It’s been challenging for us to navigate and we’re just going to have to see what happens once we get through the appeal.”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

Knaus said HMS hasn’t decided which “angle” it will focus on in its appeal but a statement released by the organization on Wednesday touched on three areas – louvers provided by the supplier do not match the design submitted by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR; “inconsistent and unclear communication by the sanctioning body” related to the issue with louvers; and recent comparable penalties issued by NASCAR have arisen from post-race inspection rather than a “voluntary inspection” like in the current instance.

“It’s a terrible situation, not only for us, but for the industry, to be quite honest with you,” Knaus said. “That’s what I dislike the most. It’s ugly. We shouldn’t be in this situation and it’s really unfortunate that we are because it doesn’t help anyone.

“We as a company and everyone in this garage are being held accountable to put their car out there for inspection and perform at the…

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