The No. 5 and No. 24 entries were two of four Hendrick Motorsports teams to be penalized by NASCAR this week. (HHP/Jim Fluharty photo)

Hendrick, Kaulig & Hamlin To Appeal NASCAR Penalties

In response to NASCAR’s extensive penalty report released on Wednesday, the three significantly affected parties have submitted appeals — Hendrick Motorsports, Kaulig Racing and Denny Hamlin.

On Friday, Hendrick Motorsports announced it would appeal the series of penalties they had been dealt related to hood louvers NASCAR confiscated from four of their Cup Series cars at Phoenix Raceway last weekend.

The team released a statement, which read, “On Friday at Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR identified louvers on our race cars during a voluntary inspection 35 minutes after the opening of the garage and prior to on-track activity. NASCAR took possession of the parts approximately four hours later with no prior communication. The situation had no bearing on Saturday’s qualifying session or Sunday’s race.”

Hendrick Motorsports also wrote that the communication from NASCAR’s sanctioning body regarding hood louvers has been “inconsistent and unclear.”

The penalty included a $100,000 fine and four-race suspension for each crew chief, involving the No. 5, No. 9, No. 24 and No. 48 teams. Drivers Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman lost 100 driver points and 10 playoff points, while all four teams lost 100 points in the owner standings.

NASCAR Deals Hendrick Motorsports Severe Penalties For Unapproved Parts

“We shouldn’t be in this situation and it is really unfortunate that we are because it doesn’t help anybody,” said Chad Knuas, vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports. “I don’t understand why you would be hung and quartered for a voluntary inspection thing that typically you would be told, ‘Hey, you need to go work on that or hey, we need to discuss what is going on.’”

Team president and general manager Jeff Andrews also pointed out that, during the 2022 season, an L2 penalty was not issued during an opening inspection or pre-race inspection. The L2 penalties that were handed out were related to post-race inspections.

The team has not made a request to defer the personal suspensions for this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Instead, Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will fill in as crew chiefs.

A general appeal date has yet to be determined.

Kaulig Racing also announced their decision to appeal the L2 penalty handed to their No. 31 team, which mirrored the penalties given to Hendrick Motorsports. Kaulig Racing has made plans to request deferral of crew chief suspension while they wait for the appeal hearing.

The third party affected by NASCAR’s mid-week penalty report was Hamlin, the No. 11 driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. He was handed a $50,000 fine and 25-point deduction in the driver standings for violating Sections 4.4 of NASCAR’s Member Code of Conduct.

Following a race incident with Ross Chastain during last Sunday’s event at Phoenix Raceway, Hamlin admitted on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast that he meant to send Chastain into the fence and “door him.” NASCAR evaluated his claims and penalized him for “attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race,” “wrecking or spinning another vehicle” and acting in a way that “NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing.”

On Wednesday, Hamlin wrote on Twitter that he would not make an appeal to NASCAR.

However, two days later, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver changed his position.  

“After much consideration, I’ve decided that I will appeal the decision by NASCAR to penalize me. What happened on Sunday was common, hard racing that happens each and every weekend,” Hamlin wrote on Twitter. “There was also no manipulation of the race nor actions detrimental to the sport.”