NASCAR came down hard on the Team Penske No. 22 team Thursday issuing the first ‘encumbered’ finish to a team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The L1 penalty will allow driver Joey Logano and the team to keep the win from Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400, but there will be no automatic playoff spot nor will the five playoff point earned for the win be counted in the post season.
The penalty marks the first instance that NASCAR has issued an ‘encumbered’ finish to a team in the top tier Cup series since the policy was announced in 2016.
NASCAR found violations in the rear suspension of the team’s winning Ford after it was torn down in NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord N.C.
In addition to the encumbered finish, NASCAR fined the team $50,000 and suspended crew chief Todd Gordon for two races; the team was also docked 25 owner and driver points.
According to penalty report, the violation was under Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book. Specifically: the Truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim mating surfaces must be planar and must be in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.
Other penalties issued Thursday:
• The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was missing one lug nut in a post-race check Sunday at Richmond International Raceway. Crew chief Mike Wheeler was handed a $10,000 fine after one lug nut was found to be improperly secured. The infraction was noted after driver Denny Hamlin recorded a season-best third-place finish in the Toyota Owners 400.
• Three teams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series also drew penalties for lug-nut infractions, the most severe of which was issued to the Richard Childress Racing No. 21 Chevrolet, driven to a third-place finish from the pole at Richmond by rookie Daniel Hemric. The car was found with two unsecured lug nuts, resulting in a $10,000 fine and a one-race suspension for crew chief Danny Stockman Jr.
Two other teams were dealt $5,000 crew chief fines for one unsecured lug nut each: the No. 3 driven by Ty Dillon (crew chief: Matt Swiderski) and the No. 46 driven by Quin Houff (crew chief: Mark Setzer).
The full report can be found here.
The team said later in the day they will not be appealing the ruling:
“We understand and accept the penalty that was communicated to us today by NASCAR following last weekend’s victory by the No. 22 car at Richmond,” Team Penske said in a statement. “We are disappointed by the notice, however, we do not plan to appeal the penalty. The No. 22 team remains focused on competing for wins as we work towards the NASCAR Playoffs and a Championship. Race Engineer Miles Stanley will serve as Joey Logano’s crew chief this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, while Greg Erwin will help call race strategy on Sunday.”