NASCAR Issues L3-Level Penalty to Stewart-Haas Racing

Getty Chase Briscoe makes a pit stop during the Coca-Cola 600.

NASCAR has issued one of its largest penalties of the Next Gen era. Chase Briscoe and Stewart-Haas Racing have received an L3-Level penalty after a teardown inspection at the R&D Center.

The sanctioning body announced the news on May 31 with its second penalty report of the week. The release said that SHR violated multiple parts of the NASCAR Rule Book. This includes Section 14.1F (counterfeiting a Next Gen single source vendor-supplied part), Section 14.6.A (Underwing), and 14.6.3B (Engine Panel Assembly).

As a result, crew chief John Klausmeier has received a $250,000 fine and a six-race suspension. Chase Briscoe has lost 120 driver points and 25 playoff points. SHR has lost 120 points and 25 playoff points.

“Don’t mess with a single-source part,” NASCAR SVP of Competition Elton Sawyer told NASCAR Media. “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.”

According to Sawyer, the counterfeit part was the NACA duct to the engine panel. This single-source part is designed to help cool the car.

This penalty is part of the new tier that NASCAR unveiled ahead of the Next Gen era. The sanctioning body updated the Rule Book ahead of the 2022 season and confirmed that there would be three main tiers for penalties focused on the new cars — L1, L2, and L3.

The L3-Level is reserved for the most egregious violations of the NASCAR Rule Book. This includes violations of the vehicle testing policy, altering/modifying fuel and/or tires, counterfeiting single-source vendor-supplied parts, engine infractions, and engine performance enhancements.

According to NASCAR, the penalties issued to Stewart-Haas Racing are the minimum allowed in the L3-Level. The possible points penalties range from 120-180 while the fines range from $250,000-$500,000. There is also a possible one-race suspension or loss of postseason eligibility for the entire team if it commits repeated violations.

Stewart-Haas Racing Released a Statement

GettyChase Briscoe (front) finished 20th in the Coca-Cola 600.

When NASCAR issues a penalty, the teams have an opportunity to make an appeal to the independent panel. Stewart-Haas Racing will not do so. Instead, the organization will just move forward.

“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 SHR Competition Director Greg Zipadelli. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

The No. 14 Ford Mustang was one of six entries taken after the Coca-Cola 600. It went to the R&D Center with the No. 31 Chevrolet of Kaulig Racing for teardown inspection and engine dyno.

The No. 19 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 48 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports both went to the R&D Center for an engine dyno. Finally, the No. 38 Ford of Front Row Motorsports and the No. 43 Chevrolet of Legacy Motor Club went to the wind tunnel.

The Penalties Completely Change the Playoff Race

GettyChase Briscoe prepares for practice at Dover Motor Speedway.

Prior to the Coca-Cola 600, Briscoe was the driver sitting on the playoff bubble. He was 16th in the championship standings and on the right side of the cutline. Though he dropped one spot after a returning Alex Bowman passed him in points.

The situation now completely changes. Briscoe goes from 292 points to only 172. This puts him 31st in the standings and in a must-win situation to even reach the playoffs. If he can achieve this goal, he will still enter the first round well behind the other 15 drivers.

With Briscoe dropping to 31st, rookie Ty Gibbs now moves up one spot. He is 17th in the playoff standings and 15 points behind Bowman. Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez is 18th and 20 points back of Bowman.

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