NASCAR did not penalize Josh Berry any points because he earns no points in the Cup Series. He earns points in the Xfinity Series. Chase Elliott is not penalized as he was not driving the #9 car when the violation was discovered.
NASCAR confiscated the hood vents (vents) of all four Hendrick cars after Friday’s practice at Phoenix Raceway. Series officials discovered a potential problem before practice, allowed the Hendrick teams to conduct the session, and then took the parts afterward.
Hood louvers (hood vents) are single source parts.
“It was obvious to us that these parts had been modified in an area that was not approved,” said NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer. “It’s a penalty consistent with what we went through last year. … We felt like keeping the garage on a level playing field and the level of competition where it needs to be, all the dialogue that went around this car last year, working with owners on what the deterrent model should be, we were put in a position where we felt there was no other way but to write a penalty.
When asked if the changes could impact downforce, Sawyer said: “We don’t normally go into intent, but I think it’s fair to say…could be the performance around these changes.”
While teams may have permission to make minor adjustments to some single-source parts, Sawyer said the area with modified hood louvers on Hendrick cars “wasn’t approved. We felt like that the line of communication between NASCAR and the garage was properly established and, obviously, they were out of bounds.
Hendrick Vice President Jeff Gordon alluded to the communications aspect when discussing the hood louver issue after Sunday’s race in Phoenix.
“We’ve had conversations, we will continue to have conversations with NASCAR,” Gordon said Sunday night. “Every situation is kind of unique, but this one is more unique than what I’ve seen in a while where there’s been a lot of two-way communication about that particular part, especially for that racetrack because they did a parity test in the wind tunnel.
“I think that really opened the door for miscommunication. I don’t want to go any further than that. We will continue to share all the facts and be transparent with NASCAR as we have been thus far.
NASCAR also issued those penalties to Justin Haley’s No. 31 Kaulig Racing team. NASCAR pegged Haley 100 points and 10 playoff points, suspended crew chief Trent Owens four races and fined him $100,000 and penalized the team 100 car owner points and 10 points in the playoffs.
NASCAR increased penalties last year on parts from a single supplier.
“The car was a collaborative project, designed to emphasize on-track performance and the unrivaled capabilities of our teams, drivers and pit crews,” said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell. in January 2022. “There will be steep penalties for any teams that race against this design so fans can focus on our drivers and the big NASCAR races expected.