The dominance of Hendrick Motorsports was curtailed to an extent as all four teams were hit with massive penalties. For Hendrick, it’s the largest combined penalty to a single organization in NASCAR history.
NASCAR announced that the #5, #9, #24, and #48 Hendrick cars, along with the #31 Kaulig Racing car, were docked 100 owner points, with crew chiefs from those teams fined $100,000 and given a four-race suspension. Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Alex Bowman, along with Justin Haley at Kaulig, were docked 100 driver points and 10 playoff points. Josh Berry, racing in place of Chase Elliott, isn’t competing for NASCAR Cup Series points and wasn’t penalized.
The teams were penalized for “unapproved parts modifications,” pertaining to the hood louvers on the cars. A hood louver is the opening in the hood, which is a vendor-supplied part. Teams are not allowed to modify vendor-supplied parts. NASCAR confiscated Hendrick’s and Kaulig’s louvers last Friday before the Phoenix Cup race.
The teams were able to replace the louvers for the race, and passed inspection. All four Hendrick cars finished in the top 10 as Byron won his second race in a row, Larson finished fourth, Bowman finished ninth, and Berry finished 10th.
The points standings look drastically different now. Kevin Harvick inherits the points lead with Bowman’s 100 point drop. Bowman drops to 25th in points, Byron is 29th but keeps his two wins for playoff eligibility, and Larson is 33rd. Haley now has -40 points and is in last place.