NASCAR: Appeals panel partially cuts Hendrick Motorsports a break

Appeals Panel Statement

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered an appeal of an L2 penalty issued on March 15, 2023 to team owner Rick Hendrick, drivers Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman and crew chiefs Cliff Daniels, Rudy Fugle, Blake Harris and Alan Gustafson in the NASCAR Cup Series.

The penalty concerns the following sections of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book: Section 6.1 Time/Manner/Location; 14.1.C,D&Q Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules; Radiator Duct. The penalties issued were the loss of 100 championship owner points and 10 Playoff points to the Nos. 5, 9, 24 and 48; the loss of 100 championship driver points and 10 Playoff points to Larson, Byron and Bowman; and a $100,000 fine and four-race suspension to Daniels, Fugle, Harris and Gustafson.

Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel are:

  1. That the Appellants violated the Rule(s) set forth in the Penalty Notice.
  2. That the Panel amends the original Penalty assessed by NASCAR to read:
    1. $100,000 fine and 4-race suspension for Cliff Daniels, Rudy Fugle, Alan Gustafson and Blake Harris.
    2. No loss of NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner and Driver points or Team Owner and Driver Playoff points.

The Appeals Panel members for this hearing:

  • Mr. Kelly Housby
  • Mr. Dixon Johnston
  • Mr. Bill Lester

The Appellants have the right to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with the NASCAR Rule Book.

Hendrick Motorsports Statement

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel has overturned the points penalties assessed to Hendrick Motorsports following the Phoenix Raceway weekend.

As a result of those penalties being rescinded, all four teams have recouped 100 points in the driver and owner standings and will not be docked playoff points at the start of the 10-race postseason. Alex Bowman is now the points leader, while William Byron is third and Kyle Larson sits in ninth. Chase Elliott’s spot in the standings does not change since he was not the driver of record at Phoenix due to injury, but the No. 9 team is now 20th in the owner standings.

“We are grateful to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel for their time and attention,” Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said in a statement. “Today’s outcome reflects the facts, and we’re pleased the panel did the right thing by overturning the points penalty. It validated our concerns regarding unclear communication and other issues we raised. We look forward to focusing on the rest of our season, beginning with this weekend’s race at Richmond (Raceway).”

The monetary fine of $100,000 to each team remains as do the four-race suspensions to each crew chief. NASCAR had taken louvers from the team’s four cars at the beginning of the event weekend at Phoenix. The team replaced them prior to competition, and Byron went on to win his second straight race. The sanctioning body issued its penalties on March 15.

Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will fill in as crew chiefs for two more races. Meendering and Ives have a wide range of experience as crew chiefs and currently lead the organization’s NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts. Gray is the former lead engineer on the No. 9, while Campe is Hendrick Motorsports’ technical director.

NASCAR Statement

“We are pleased that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel agreed that Hendrick Motorsports violated the rule book. However, we are disappointed that the entirety of the penalty was not upheld. A points penalty is a strong deterrent that is necessary to govern the garage following rule book violations, and we believe that it was an important part of the penalty in this case and moving forward. We will continue to inspect and officiate the NASCAR garage at the highest level of scrutiny to ensure a fair and level playing field for our fans and the entire garage.” – NASCAR


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