According to the weekly penalty report, the No. 3 team of Austin Dillon violated the overall assembled rules of the NASCAR Rule Book. The report specifically listed Sections 14.1 C&E&Q: Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules; 14.6.1 A&B: Underwing Assembly Mounting & Underwing Stay Assembly Hardware.
As a result, crew chief Keith Rodden has received a $75,000 fine and a two-race suspension. Dillon lost 60 driver points and five playoff points while the No. 3 team lost 60 owner points and five playoff points.
Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro was one of two cars that went to the R&D Center after the NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway. The No. 41 Ford Mustang of Ryan Preece also underwent teardown inspection, but Stewart-Haas Racing did not violate any rules.
Dillon Has a Significant Points Deficit To Overcome
A playoff driver in 2022, Dillon has dealt with some struggles early in 2023. He crashed at Daytona International Speedway and Circuit of the Americas. His team also struggled at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway.
There have been some solid performances. Dillon finished ninth at Auto Club Speedway and third overall at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt). He then finished 12th at Martinsville Speedway.
Dillon left the Virginia short track sitting 21st in the points standings. He was 24 points below the playoff cutline. Now, however, he is 28th in the standings and 84 points out of a potential playoff spot.
Dillon will now try to gain some of these points back at Talladega Superspeedway. This is a track where he has made 19 total starts, and he has posted five top-10 finishes and two top-fives. This stat line includes a runner-up behind Ross Chastain in the 2022 Geico 500.
RCR Joins Another Team Receiving L1-Level Penalties
The positive aspects of the Next Gen era became the prominent storyline early in 2022. There were first-time winners, more competitive teams, and improved racing at intermediate tracks.
The 2023 season has been the exact opposite. Penalties have taken over with multiple high-profile teams and drivers losing points and money.
This includes L2-Level Penalties issued to all four Hendrick Motorsports teams and the No. 31 team of Kaulig Racing. Both were able to get their points back upon appeal, but they still paid a combined $500,000 in fines while all five crew chiefs served four-race suspensions.
Denny Hamlin received behavioral penalties after the trip to Phoenix Raceway. He made intentional contact with the No. 1 of Ross Chastain, which led to a $50,000 fine and the loss of 25 driver points. Hamlin appealed, but the panel upheld the original penalty.
Two of the Hendrick Motorsports teams received more penalties after the trip to Richmond Raceway. NASCAR took the No. 24 of William Byron and the No. 48 of Alex Bowman to the R&D Center for teardown inspection.
Days later, both teams received L1-Level penalties for Greenhouse violations. HMS opted to accept the penalties instead of appealing for the second time in the 2023 season.