CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports will be appealing penalties handed down from NASCAR following the race weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
A statement from the team 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."
The statement cited several facts that include:
- Louvers provided to teams through NASCAR’s mandated single-source supplier do not match the design submitted by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR
- Documented inconsistent and unclear communication by the sanctioning body specifically related to louvers
- Recent comparable penalties issued by NASCAR have been related to issues discovered during a post-race inspection
For the March 19 NASCAR Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has elected not to request deferral of personnel suspensions, citing a strategic decision. Atlanta is now a drafting track and a superspeedway-style race.
For this weekend’s race at Atlanta, Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will fill in as crew chiefs. Meendering and Ives have a wide range of experience as crew chiefs and currently lead the organization's NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts. Gray is the former lead engineer on the No. 9. Campe, Hendrick Motorsports' technical director, has experience as a Xfinity Series crew chief. The Atlanta race marked the first for Gray and Campe as crew chiefs in the Cup Series. At Circuit of The Americas, the interim crew chiefs will once again be on the box.
The penalties assessed by NASCAR are a loss of 100 points in the driver and owner standings for each team, a fine of $100,000 to each team, a loss of 10 playoff points to each driver and team and four-race suspensions for each crew chief.
Chase Elliott, who has been sidelined while he recovers from a fractured tibia, will not be subject to the driver and playoff point penalties as he was not the driver of record this past weekend.
At Phoenix, Hendrick Motorsports won its second straight race of the season with driver William Byron and saw all four of its cars finish in the top 10.
"There was nothing, not last week, not this week, that was getting them to Victory Lane other than a lot of hard work and great teamwork," vice chairman Jeff Gordon said after the win.