DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR officials issued L1-level penalties to two Hendrick Motorsports teams on Thursday.
The penalties are the result of engine-allocation infractions at the most recent NASCAR Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The No. 9 team of defending series champion Chase Elliott and the No. 48 team of teammate Alex Bowman were found in violation of Section 20.6.1.e in the NASCAR Rule Book, which covers engine assembly. The penalty report notes: “When the long block is sealed, the engine must be used in the same vehicle number the next time it is used.”
Elliott and Bowman were each penalized with the loss of 25 driver points and each team lost 25 owner points. Elliott’s crew chief Alan Gustafson and Bowman’s crew chief Greg Ives were both fined $50,000. Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager Jeff Andrews and the organization’s director of track engine support, Scott Maxim, were each suspended for one race.
Hendrick Motorsports officials issued a statement Thursday explaining the organization’s role in the rules violation: “Due to an administrative error, one of our sealed engines assigned to the No. 9 car was unintentionally allocated to our No. 48 team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Although the engine passed technical inspection and absolutely no competitive advantage was gained, we acknowledge NASCAR’s process was not followed correctly in this instance. The rules regarding the assignment of sealed engines are clear, and we understand and respect their decision to issue a penalty. We apologize for the mistake and have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”
The penalty drops Elliott from fifth to sixth in the Cup Series standings. Bowman remains in 11th place in points after the series’ most recent event.