NASCAR took two Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets to the R&D Center for teardown inspection after the trip to Richmond Raceway. Days later, the sanctioning body issued more penalties to the organization.
According to a penalty report, the No. 24 Chevrolet of William Byron and the No. 48 Chevrolet of Alex Bowman both violated Sections 14.1 D: Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules; 14.1.2.B: Engineering Change Log; 14.5.6.B: Greenhouse. As a result, the two teams lost 60 driver points and 60 owner points as part of L1-Level penalties. They also lost five playoff points.
Additionally, interim crew chiefs Brian Campe and Greg Ives each received $75,000 fines and two-race suspensions. These suspensions will take effect after the trip to Bristol Motor Speedway for the dirt race.
This timing is important considering that the regular Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs will be eligible to return from their four-race suspensions after Bristol.
Bowman and Byron were the only two Hendrick Motorsports drivers penalized for the L1-Level infraction. The No. 5 Chevrolet of race-winner Kyle Larson passed post-race inspection. The No. 9 Chevrolet of Josh Berry was not taken to the R&D Center.
Hendrick Motorsports Issued a Statement in Response
These L1-Level penalties are only the latest issued to Hendrick Motorsports during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. All four cars also received L2-Level penalties after the trip to Phoenix Raceway for unapproved modifications of a single-source part (hood louvers).
Hendrick Motorsports appealed the L2-Level penalties and partially won. The appeals panel upheld the four-race suspensions and $100,000 fines issued to the four crew chiefs. However, it rescinded the 100-point penalties issued to the four drivers and teams.
Hendrick Motorsports could potentially appeal the L1-Level penalties and attempt to have them overturned. However, this decision will come at a later date due to the penalty report being issued on Thursday, April 6, instead of earlier in the week.
“We are reviewing the penalties issued today by NASCAR and will determine next steps following Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement.
Bowman Loses the Points Lead
With NASCAR issuing more penalties to Hendrick Motorsports, there is now another shakeup in the standings. Bowman has lost the points lead for the second time in March due to penalties.
Bowman lost his lead after the trip to Phoenix Raceway. The L2-Level penalties dropped him outside of the top 20, but he returned to the top of the leaderboard after Hendrick Motorsports made its appeal.
Bowman has now dropped out of the lead once again. He is now seventh in the standings, and he has negative playoff points. Ross Chastain is now the new points leader after leaving Richmond Raceway four points behind Bowman.
Byron, for comparison, drops from fourth in the standings to 14th. He now only has 10 playoff points after building up a stockpile with two race wins (five points each) and five stage wins (one point each).
There is a scenario where both drivers get their points back in the coming weeks. Though for that to happen, Hendrick Motorsports would have to decide to appeal penalties for the second time this season. They would also have to convince the appeals panel that they had not violated the NASCAR Rule Book.