NASCAR issued L2-Level Penalties to the No. 4 team after a trip to the R&D Center and a teardown inspection. Now Stewart-Haas Racing has decided to file an appeal.
The Cup Series organization filed the notice on Friday, October 7. However, crew chief Rodney Childers will not make his return to the pit box for the race at the Charlotte Roval. He will serve this one-race suspension while Engineer Stephen Doran serves as the interim crew chief for Kevin Harvick’s team.
If SHR wins the appeal, Childers will potentially only miss one Cup Series race and he will return for the trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If the Appeals Panel upholds the original penalties issued by NASCAR, he will still be eligible to return to the pit box for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
The Original Penalty Included Point Losses & Fines
NASCAR issued its penalty report on October 5 after taking both the No. 4 of Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 19 of Joe Gibbs Racing to the R&D Center. According to the press release, the No. 4 Ford Mustang violated Sections 14.1 (vehicle assembly) and 14.5 (body) of the NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR officials alleged that the team modified the rear deck lid.
The original penalty included the loss of 100 driver points and 100 owner points. The No. 16 remained in the 16th position in the standings after making the playoffs, but Harvick is now 118 points behind Kyle Busch in the standings.
Additionally, the penalty included a $100,000 fine and a four-race suspension for Childers. If upheld, he will miss the races at the Charlotte Roval, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway.
Whether or not the appeal works, it is understandable considering the harshness of L2-Level penalties. The outcome will have an effect on the owners’ standings, which play a role in determining the value of each charter.
2 Other Teams Have Successfully Appealed Penalties in 2022
Appealing the penalties issued by NASCAR is always an option for the teams and drivers. Doing so generally does not work out, especially in regard to penalties surrounding the Next Gen cars. RFK Racing, Kaulig Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing are only some examples of teams that appealed penalties and failed.
That being said, stating a case in front of the Appeals Panel has worked out for two different teams in recent weeks. Xfinity Series driver Jeremy Clements won a race at Daytona International Speedway, but he lost out on a playoff spot after a penalty for violating Sections 14.6.12K&U of the NASCAR Rule Book, which pertains to the intake manifold.
Clements’ team made an appeal prior to the start of the Xfinity Series playoffs and received a favorable ruling. The panel rescinded the penalties and gave Clements back his spot in the Xfinity Series playoffs.
William Byron is the most recent example. He received significant penalties for spinning Denny Hamlin under caution at Texas Motor Speedway. These included the loss of 25 driver points, the loss of 25 owner points, and a $50,000 fine.
Hendrick Motorsports didn’t win its appeal, per se, but the team received an altered penalty. The panel rescinded the 25-point penalty in both the driver and owner standings, which moved Byron back above the cutline. The panel then increased his fine to $100,000.