NASCAR: Two Hendrick cars get L1-Level Penalties

NASCAR officials issued L1-level penalties to two Hendrick Motorsports teams on Thursday for engine-allocation infractions at the Cup Series’ most recent race.

Hendrick’s No. 9 team for defending series champion Chase Elliott and the No. 48 team of teammate Alex Bowman were found in violation of Section 20.6.1.e in the NASCAR Rule Book, which covers engine assembly. The penalty report notes: “When the long block is sealed, the engine must be used in the same vehicle number the next time it is used.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, captures the pole position Wednesday, February 11, 2021 for the 63rd running of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is the ninth consecutive season a Chevrolet has led the field and will mark the fourth consecutive season Bowman will start the race from the front row – his first in the #48. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Competition officials deducted 25 points from each team’s total in each the driver and team owner standings, and crew chiefs Alan Gustafson (No. 9 team) and Greg Ives (No. 48) were each fined $50,000. NASCAR also issued one-race suspensions to Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager Jeff Andrews and the organization’s director of track engine support Scott Maxim for the next Cup Series event.

Hendrick Motorsports officials issued a statement Thursday explaining the organization’s role in the rules violation: “Due to an administrative error, one of our sealed engines assigned to the No. 9 car was unintentionally allocated to our No. 48 team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Although the engine passed technical inspection and absolutely no competitive advantage was gained, we acknowledge NASCAR’s process was not followed correctly in this instance. The rules regarding the assignment of sealed engines are clear, and we understand and respect their decision to issue a penalty. We apologize for the mistake and have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”

The penalty drops Elliott from fifth to sixth in the Cup Series standings. Bowman remains in 11th place in points after the series’ most recent event, held last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.