Hendrick Motorsports penalized again for infractions to cars at Richmond, details

It just doesn’t end. My goodness. It won’t stop. This is exhausting. On Thursday, NASCAR announced that Hendrick Motorsports cars of Alex Bowman and William Byron each received an L-1 penalty for the cars not passing inspection at NASCAR’s R&D Center back in Concord. Both cars were the “random” cars chosen to go back to R&D for inspection. Both failed.

As a result, Byron (No. 24) and Bowman (No. 48) each will lose 60 driver points and 5 playoff points. The teams also lost 60 owner points and five playoff owner points. In addition, the team’s respective crew chiefs (Brian Campe and Greg Ives) were fined $75,000 and suspended for two points events starting April 13.

The section referenced in the NASCAR Rule Book was 14.1.D Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules and 14.1.2.B Engineering Change Log. A NASCAR spokesperson confirmed that the penalty was for a modification to the greenhouse area on each car.

Before the penalties, Bowman was atop the Cup Series standings while Byron was in fourth place, 35 points behind but with two race wins to his credit this season.

This is the second time in four weeks that HMS has received a penalty. In Phoenix, their louvers were taken as all four teams received an L-2 penalty with $100k fine for each car, 100 point penalty, 10 playoff points taken away and a four race suspension for each crew chief. They appealed. That appeal outcome that was announced last Wednesday went in their favor as they got all their points back.

Now, they’ll likely appeal this one too.

My take on this is that these penalties are starting to tarnish HMS’ season. Before this, they looked like THE championship favorite. Now, these violations have to bring their success in question.

Combined, they’ve scored 3 victories in 7 races. Also, HMS had led 798 laps already. Even more impressive is that Larson and Byron swept both stages in Phoenix. They had the two best cars that day. For Richmond, a track comparable to Phoenix, they were 1-2 in Stage 1 and very well could have finished that way in the race. Instead, Josh Berry snuck in there to give HMS a 1-2 that way.

Phoenix once again is the championship deciding race and for them to be this strong, this early, on similar tracks, watch out. However, how legal are their cars?

I’m questioning it and I’m sure so are others. Did they truly manipulate the louvers or was this a supplier issue? We don’t know that answer which is why I’m skeptical here. Just when I was starting to believe them, we get this.

Chad Knaus and Jeff Gordon have a way with words in skating around this and they have. Now, this is getting embarrassing. The respect level is starting to get low for them. I get trying to work in the “gray” areas of the rulebook and that’s unfortunately what NASCAR had evolved to over the decades, however, this new car was supposed to alleviate that.

It sounds like some teams are playing by the rules but teams like Hendrick aren’t and they’re rubbing it in everyone’s faces on how to get around the appeals process.

It’s exhausting.

HMS is probably going to pull the NASCAR is out to get them card for them winning their appeal last week. Are they right?

NASCAR has every right to inspect their cars. I hope the “random” cars for every race the rest of the season are HMS vehicles. They need to be brought down a pedestal or two and get in line. Money doesn’t faze them. They’ll gladly pay six figures to cheat and keep their points and trophies.

A message needs to be sent here.

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