Five NASCAR Chevy teams, including all four Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) entries and one Kaulig Racing (KR) entry, were hit with severe penalties for illegally modified parts.
The decision comes after the sanctioning body confiscated the hood louvres from five NASCAR Chevy Camaro ZL1 race cars last Friday at Phoenix Raceway. These parts were seized from the No. 5 Camaro of Kyle Larson, the No. 48 Camaro of Alex Bowman, the No. 9 Camaro of Josh Berry, the No. 24 Camaro of William Byron and the No. 31 Camaro of Justin Haley.
The hood louvres were found to be in violation of Sections 220.127.116.11.A of the NASCAR Rule Book, which outlines specifications for how the radiator duct of the Next Gen race car is assembled. The aforementioned NASCAR Chevy teams were found to have unapproved modifications to a single-source vendor-supplied part.
As a result, all five NASCAR Chevy teams were hit with L2-level penalties. Each involved crew chief was fined $100,000, and will be suspended from the next four Cup Series races. Each team was also docked 100 team points, 100 driver points and 10 Playoff points, with the exception of the No. 9 Camaro, which is currently being piloted by a substitute driver who earns Xfinity Series points.
The hood louvres were replaced before the Cup Series race on Sunday, and all five Camaro race cars passed pre-race inspection. Byron’s No. 24 Camaro went on to win the race. Prior to the penalties, Bowman’s No. 48 Camaro was leading in points standings, while Byron’s No. 24 Camaro was fourth, followed by Larson’s No. 5 Camaro in fifth. The point deductions have serious championship implications, meaning that the affected NASCAR Chevy teams will have quite the hurdle to overcome.
As a reminder, hood louvres are openings or vents in the hoods that act as a release point for ducts that allow air to transfer out of the radiator. The system was introduced to facilitate improved engine performance while maintaining aerodynamic integrity, and prevents teams from taping off the air intakes and stressing the race car’s engines.