Friday, 19 April 2024

Hendrick Motorsports catches a break with points penalty reversal

Posted On Wednesday, 05 April 2023 02:19 Written by
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, races to victory Sunday, April 2, 2023, winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. The Hendrick caught a break this past week when major points penalties to all four of its teams were rescinded by an appeals panel. Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, races to victory Sunday, April 2, 2023, winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. The Hendrick caught a break this past week when major points penalties to all four of its teams were rescinded by an appeals panel. Photo by Chris Owens/HHP for Chevy Racing

Hendrick Motorsports caught a break this week when its L2-level penalties related to illegal modifications made to hood louvers on its four cars were lessened by an appeals panel.

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel ruled to amend the penalty. Monetary fines totaling $400,000 and four-race suspensions to each Hendrick crew chief remain, but the panel overturned all the points penalties, restoring championship and playoff points that had been docked in the initial penalty.

My take is simple. If rules were broken and the monetary fines remain, the appeals panel shouldn’t have lowered the penalties by returning the points. It’s an irrational move, and it’s odd to me how the biggest teams seek to be the only ones who ever catch a break in the appeals process. 

NASCAR was clearly unhappy with the appeal board ruling, as they should be, and I’m curious to see if the appeal for Justin Haley’s #31 team gets the same treatment as Hendrick, as he was tagged with the same penalty.

Will we see more than 16 winners in 2023?

With six winners in seven races so far, and the continued adapting to the Next Gen car by drivers and teams in 2023, don’t be surprised if when we get to the playoffs, we’re in the situation we were in last year and there are potentially more than 16 winners competing for a playoff spot. While Hendrick Motorsports seems to be the best team so far this year, parity is still the reality, and I don’t see anyone running away and knocking off 6 or 8 victories this season, meaning a high number of winners is likely.

So what’s the impact of this parity? One win may not be enough to guarantee you a spot in the playoffs. So outside of William Byron with his two wins, no one should feel 100 percent confident that their spot in the postseason is secure.



Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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